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Review: Mexican Institute of Sound at Hotel Vegas

Nancy Flores

Editor’s note: This article was originally published September 7, 2013

A master at high-energy live shows, Camilo Lara of Mexican Institute of Sound gave crowds a cardio workout during his Hotel Vegas performance on a steamy Friday night.

“It’s (expletive) hot here,” Lara said from the venue’s outdoor stage. Though a slight breeze was flowing, the packed crowd at the front of the stage couldn’t feel it and apparently neither could Lara. “Welcome to Texas,” someone shouted from the crowd. We can’t help it if our dance parties tend to be on the sweatier side.

An alumni of both South by Southwest and the Pachanga Latino Music Festival, Mexican Institute of Sound (MIS) has gained an Austin following that is not shy about jumping on stage, crowd surfing or creating a mini dust bowl as a result of too much dancing on a dirt floor.

Aside from his trusty laptop, Lara’s MIS crew includes a bassist and drummer who all brought the electro-cumbia grooves throughout the show, mixing in hip hop beats too. MIS pumped the fans up with song selections from his four albums including the super contagious “Yo Digo Baila” from his 2009 “Soy Sauce” album as well as more recent songs, like the haunting yet danceable “México” from his 2012 “Político” album.

He also took it way back with oldie but goodie songs from his first album like “Hey, Tía!”

MIS came through Austin as part of the Red Bull “Wazzup” tour with Guadalajara-based Los Masters Plus, who played earlier this year at Pachanga Fest and received my unofficial “Most Unique Band” award for their over-the-top performances. The duo pokes fun at the stereotypes of Mexican regional music and injects humor in their fashion and lyrics. A cumbia-style version of No Doubt or Joan Jett? Why not. Los Masters Plus does it in a fun way and don’t take themselves too seriously.

After an encore, MIS ended the night by inviting the already revved up crowd to join him on stage. As fans gathered around Lara for dancing and jumping, sound equipment bounced and the MIS laptop slid off its dock. But all ended well when fans and staff saved the modern beat machine.