LAMC in NYC
Ever since I was six years old when I first saw the classic 1933 film King Kong, I’ve always wondered what New York City would be like in real life. It was a little hard to visualize back then because every time I tried to picture the city the only thing that came to mind was an oversized gorilla going bananas… not exactly an accurate image to say the least. However as I got older, thanks to the help of Hollywood and Google Images, New York continued to become more realistic. But two weeks ago the days of me daydreaming about this city finally came to an end. On Tuesday, July 10th I packed my bags, met Nelson Arreguin at the Chicago O’Hare Airport, and we both headed off to New York City for the LAMC (Latin Alternative Music Conference).
We got to New York in the early afternoon and as soon as we walked outside I was instantly blinded by a sea of yellow. Immediately I whipped out my phone and started taking pictures of the all the taxi cabs scrambling to pick up their next victim. Now usually I’ll do anything to avoid looking like a tourist, but I had already come to terms that for the next few days I would set aside my pride and document every minute of this trip… even if it meant being “that guy” who stops in the middle of a crowded street to take a picture of some building.
We arrived to The New Yorker Hotel in what seemed like a minute, quickly dropped our bags off in our rooms, and met back downstairs to begin setting up the Shure display for the conference. About three hours later the Shure step & repeat, rug, and Super 55 were up and ready to go.
The next day I met Nelson for lunch, but unfortunately we both suffer from indecisive minds and therefore couldn’t decide on where to eat. Our solution… walking around until we saw something that looked good. Brilliant? Ehh not so much. We walked around for a good forty-five minutes only to return to a restaurant that was right next to the hotel to begin with. But I wasn’t complaining because we ended up walking through Times Square where my eyes pulled a Roger Rabbit and popped right out of my head. I have never seen SO many advertisements and SO many people in one place before! I honestly did not know what to do or where to look… my brain was yelling, “WARNING: System overload! System overload!” But it was something I will never forget and now I can proudly say I’ve been to Times Square even if it was only for a few minutes.
After lunch, we went to check on the Shure display and said hello to our friends at Gibson who were to be our neighbors for the next few days. The combination of Shure’s video recording station with the classic Super 55 next to Gibson’s DJ booth made it a pretty awesome area to be in. We soon hurried off though because it was time to head over to The Mercury Lounge where the LAMC Indie Showcase took place. It was a five hour long show, but it went by in a flash. There were a number of amazing artists that I had never heard of before. I’m not a huge rap/hip-hop fan, but the band ArtOfficial captivated my attention from the moment they opened their mouths. I’m not much of a head bopper, but trust me, I was head boppin’. Alex Anwandter from Chile also performed that night and he was one of the most interesting and entertaining musicians I’ve ever seen live. Half way through his first song I found myself trying to dance like him. I mean his moves were on a whole other level! (I’d also like to take this moment to apologize to anyone who witnessed my attempt at trying to be a good dancer that night.) The last band to go on was La Santa Cecilia and they ended the night with a bang.
The next two days were busy busy busy. On both Thursday and Friday afternoon, there were several artists who came to Shure’s area to record a quick video explaining who they were, where they were from, and what the LAMC meant to them. All of these videos can be found on Shure’s YouTube channel. Also, during the first official day of the conference we attended a Q&A session with Calle 13 and Gabriel Abaroa President/CEO of the Latin Recording Company. Although I could only catch half of what was being said, it was interesting to hear Calle 13 talk about their music.
On Friday after Nelson and I finished tearing everything down we met up with Alex Anwandter for dinner and all of us headed over to Prospect Park to see Calle 13 and Ana Tijoux. We got there around 9 p.m. after surviving a taxi ride that was actually in fact a brand new rollercoaster ride called Yellow Automobile of DOOM. The driver forgot to have us sign a death waiver, which we were unaware of as we strapped on our seatbelts. After fifteen minutes of hanging on for dear life, I had never been so happy to step foot on solid ground. But as we walked up to the entrance of the show, there were policemen announcing that it was filled to capacity and for everyone to go home. Major bummer. We were not going to let that get us down though. Instead it gave us a chance to explore Brooklyn and we even ended up running into René Pérez Joglar of Calle 13 at a restaurant later that night.
Saturday was the last day of the LAMC. The only event that day was the LAMC Central Park Summerstage Show in the afternoon so I was able to sleep in a bit which was marrrrvelous! I met Nelson around noon and we grabbed a slice of some authentic New York pizza before heading to the show. Once we arrived we received our backstage passes and 3BallMTY kicked off an afternoon of entertainment. Los Autenticos Decadentes was the next band to perform and the crowd instantly switched from dancing to electronic beats with 3BallMTY to Latin Rock. Nelson and I stood on the side of the stage for this band. It was unreal to be so close to the guys as they were playing and then to look out into a sea of people mouthing the words to every song while throwing their hands in the air along with their water bottles. After they finished, Nelson and I walked onto the stage where we gave audience members a few products for providing the correct answers to Shure trivia questions. It was a pretty awesome feeling being in front of so many people.
The last band to play that day was Kinky and they were the perfect band to end the LAMC. Nelson and I were on the side of the stage again and I could not keep my eyes off the drummer who… 1. stood the entire show and 2. moved his arms at the speed of light. The whole show was amazing and the crowd went nuts. The show ended around 7 p.m. and the LAMC was officially over.
When I got home I had to double check that I had really been in New York for five days because it felt like I had only been gone two, maybe three days. Time in New York is definitely on an adrenaline rush 24/7. Not to mention all the excitement of the days’ events only added to the speediness of the trip. But what a trip it was! I learned so many things that there was never time for a dull moment. My first trip to New York is one I will always remember.
Oh….. and I never once saw an oversized gorilla.