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Latin 11/09/2001

Molotov, Kool Keith, Juanes Close Out Watcha 2001 In L.A.

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Molotov Celebrating its third year, the Watcha Tour - the Latin offshoot of the Vans Warped Tour - just completed another successful summer run.

Watcha, slang for "check it out," rolled through Los Angeles' Universal Amphitheatre Friday (Sept. 7) evening with 10 performers on the main stage. A new configuration added to Watcha 2001, which played in 13 cities including Puerto Rico and Santo Domingo, was a side-stage outside the amphitheater where up-and-coming DJs and bands performed.

Adding to the diversity of the lineup was New York rapper Kool Keith. Unfortunately the pro-Latin crowd wasn't feeling hip-hop with English rhymes. Another disappointment to many fans was the no-show of L.A. favorites Maldita Vecindad.

Kool Keith
Venezuela's Los Amigos Invisibles created a lively atmosphere. Their '70s style of Austin Powers lounge music really got the crowd going. Argentina's Bersuit increased the high-energy shenanigans with their upbeat music and frenetic, borderline-retarded dancing.

A memorable, straight-out-of-Spinal Tap moment occurred when Mexico's Zordok took the stage. Right when the rotating stage whisked away Bersuit, the stage became stuck in mid rotation forcing Zordok to perform at a very awkward angle until the problem could be fixed. Of course that meant the band had to first be rotated in the opposite direction (while playing) before they could properly face the crowd.

Argentina's Enanitos Verdes proved to be one of the night's highlights. Their brand of high-energy rock had the crowd singing along throughout their set. Colombia's Juanes (nominated for seven Latin GRAMMY Awards this week) proved a favorite for the female fans.

Closing out the night was Watcha regular Molotov. The Mexican Beastie Boys' brand of crude rock ignited the mosh pit to a fervor. Joining the band onstage during their set were members of Enanitos Verdes and Juanes, providing a feeling of community among the bands.

Maybe it was because Latin rock leaders La Ley didn't perform on this night (they did play other cities on the tour) nor did the likes of Café Tacuba or Control Machete, who have headlined in previous years, but there wasn't a sense of urgency at the show. Now in its third year, Watcha 2001 seemed safe and ran like clockwork. This was definitely a Latin-flavored party, but gone were the bevy of Mexican flags that normally fill the venue at Latin rock shows as well at the attitude that rock en español is taking over.

Watcha donated $.50 of every ticket sold to the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. The money raised will be allocated towards scholarship funds for students in the cities visited by the tour.

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