On scene: Ozomatli rocks mountain during closing weekend
April 17, 2009
It takes a certain kind of party band to incorporate a clarinet intro or lead off a song with a line played by a melodica, and have those touches come off as something other than supremely nerdy or horribly misguided.
Los Angeles dance band Ozomatli can do those things, easily blending instruments of every kind into its stew of Latin hip-hop, funk, rock and world music. Touching on songs from its catalogue dating back more than 10 years, a seven-piece incarnation of Ozomatli took the Steamboat Ski Area stage as the sun broke through the clouds for the first time on Closing Day of the 2008-09 season.
Ozomatli charged the Gondola Square crowd’s energy level with the Latin dance-rhythm-infused “Can’t Stop” early in the set. The band followed soon after with “Cumbia de los Muertos” – written by Jurassic 5 member and former Ozomatli rapper Chali 2na, and featured in the Drew Barrymore romantic comedy “Never Been Kissed” – and Sublime’s “April 29, 1992.”
That was about all it took to get a Closing Day crowd going, as the members of Ozomatli mined every style of music they’ve ever heard to craft a genre-bending dance party set in tune with a packed, Bud Light-soaked Gondola Square.
The band was a successful cap to what at first looked to be a miserable last day on the mountain. Rain fell at the base until mid-afternoon, and a mix of snow and freezing precipitation higher up on the hill made visibility nonexistent and carefree spring skiing elusive. Those who decided to pass the less-than-ideal conditions at Stoker made an inadvertently wise choice, as the clouds broke around 3 p.m.
An early start for Cardboard Classic on Saturday was less of a damper to the events’ participants than it was in 2008. At least for me, knowing the race start time and then competing slightly after it was much more pleasant than the way things worked out for our team last year, when half of us were running up the bunny slope to the race after 10 a.m. when the event moved faster than scheduled.
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As expected, my team’s not-exactly-structurally-sound sea-foam-green dragon didn’t move quickly down the hill – until we started to pull it – and the shape imploded after about 20 feet. To any future Cardboard Classic competitors, I recommend considering the aerodynamics of your sled before you transport it to the Ski Area, and definitely before you try to ride it down the slopes.
– Margaret Hair, 4 Points