Buraka Som Sistema Make Miami Debut at Grand Central
Where the funk were you last night, Miami? If you weren’t at Grand Central for the Buraka Som Sistema show, you fucked up.
DJ Mag named it one of the top five shows in the nation for the whole week, and we can understand why. These electric, baile funk flexers know hot to bring the heat. Mix that with the spice of Miami and shit gets muy caliente.
We got to the show before their set and found Latin-Grammy nominated Mr. Pauer getting the crowd nice and warmed up. Born in Venezuela and residing in Miami, Mr. Pauer knows how to mix the latin rhythms with the electro bang contemporary audiences go nuts for. It was the perfect way to dance out the jitters before Buraka hit the stage.
At about 12:45 a.m., Mr. Pauer let the volume on his track fade out, and the dim lights signified the moment was coming.
The DJ came to life behind the booth, bearing the group’s name and signature candy-skull logo.
“Yo, wassup Miami,” J-Wow called from behind his decks. “We are Buraka Som Sistema!” The beginning cords of a familiar song rose higher as Riot, drumming beside him, tapped out the tropical rhythm. The song began to get faster and louder, a tension building in the air above the crowd. There was the feeling that something had to give, and then -
“Baba ba, ba ba, baba ba ba,” chanted the three vocalists storming the stage. Lil’ John, Kalaf and Conductor hyped the crowd with their anthem “Hangover,” gyrating across the stage like dancers overcome by a spell of madness and badassery. They were vibrant from head to toe, Conductor’s face covered in neon tangerine make-up.
They worked through a few more songs, mixing material from their albums Komba and Black Diamond, coaxing the crowd to throw their hands in the air, dance the kuduro and make tons of noise all the while.
“You love it?” Lil’ John asked, making them roar. “This is our first time here! We appreciate the love (Miami). DJ Craze, always shows us love,” he smiled as he pointed to the local hero in the crowd.
“This one is special,” he said, directing back to the music. “It’s called ‘Komba.’”
They jumped back into it the music and kept it driving all night. Couples on the dance floor began to let loose, experimenting to see how low they could really go before toppling over. Pockets of kids on the outskirts raged it out extra hard.
The band members worked up quite a sweat on stage, so naturally, they lost more and more clothing as the night progressed. Not to be rude or anything, but damn girl, that ass is fierce. The energy and enthusiasm spread to the fans below, happy to throw their middle fingers up or whatever the MC’s demanded.
“Miami, I heard this is a party town,” Lil’ John said, “is that right?” Screams. “Well, I have one question. Can we stay up all night?” alluding to their song by the same name. The crowd sang along with them to the catchy chorus.
They worked through more tracks, and in a sweet show of love for Miami’s own music scene, they performed both the original and JWLS remix of their track “Tira O Pe.”
It was getting late, coming close to the end of their hour-set, but before closing out the night, they had one more trick up their sleeves. They invited all the ladies up on the stage to dance, and girls climbed up from all over the crowd.
If Miami bitches can do anything, they can shake their asses. It was a whirlwind of arms in the air and asses on the ground. One particularly fierce lady busted out split after split. J-Wow busted out the confetti canons, covering everything in explosive, colorful paper.
After the song finished, the stage was cleared, and Buraka Som Sistema finished with their epic encore. They dropped a remix of “A$$” and broke out the super soakers. After all the dancing, the crowd was happy to cool off.
“Miami, thank you very much. We are Buraka Som Sstema,” Lil’ John said their goodbyes. “We appreciate the love. You guys are fucking amazing.”
Miami’s Mike Deuce wrapped up the evening with some hard-ass trap and hip-hop, and everyone went home, chanting to themselves, to dream of tropical wonderlands.