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By Simon McCormack
Saturday, Sept. 10; El Rey Theatre (21-and-older): Tiempo Libre plays the type of music that makes you feel justified for spending hours with your partner taking Latin dance classes. As Tiempo's unabashedly piquant brass and layered percussion invades your eardrums, you'll want to know the proper maneuvers when your waist (through no fault of your own) starts winding this-way-and-that. If you do not have the necessary training, don't be surprised if your hips feel like shit in the morning. Tiempo plays a unique style of Cuban music called timba, which differentiates itself from most other forms of Latin music by using a full drum set, as well as the more traditional congas and timbales, to form the rhythm section. The band's latest release, Arroz Con Mango, proves the band can go low-key by utilizing lounge-ish keyboard and cooled-out percussion. The primo Tiempo cuts, however, are filled to capacity with complex arrangements and frenzied tempos that can't help but elevate your mood. Tiempo's distinctive authenticity (which stems from the fact that each of the band's seven members are originally from Cuba) has cultivated a following in such unexpected places as Southeast Asia. As for the fear of not having the right moves on the dance floor, Tiempo's bandleader and pianist Jorge Gomez offered some comforting words to the Chicago Tribune: "We're just trying to encourage people to get up and feel free; that's the secret of timba." Just bring a few ICY HOT Sleeves™ to the show and you should be fine. Call 249-7638 for ticket information.
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