Las Cafeteras

Laxson Auditorium

Chico Performances

Laxson Auditorium was only about half full last Thursday night (Feb. 9) for Las Cafeteras, a band out of East Los Angeles that fuses Latin and American sounds with social and political messages. And that’s a real shame. With tickets running only $16, I would have thought the place would be full. The band, a lively crew of “immigrant children,” played a variety of unconventional instruments—from jarana and requinto guitars to the Caribbean marimbol (a bass-like box instrument that looks nothing like a bass) to a donkey jawbone (yes, you read that right). And they delivered their message in the most colorful of ways, through achingly beautiful vocals, tap dancing and artfully written raps. They had the audience call-and-responsing about the president and corruption, referenced Standing Rock and the Muslim ban multiple times, and got the crowd on its feet with their declaration that dancing is equivalent to living. I’m not sure what kept Chicoans from this show, but they certainly missed out.