Legends! Though founding member Juan Formell passed away in 2014, his ensemble Los Van Van ("The Go Gos") continues touring and making music, in honor of Formell's singular musical vision and in service to the unmistakable rhythms of Cuban music. Los Van Van, with Formell at the helm, formed in 1969 with the goal of hybridizing traditional Cuban music with then-current rock and pop influences, a style they dubbed "songo." Los Van Van has consistently evolved their sound over the years, seamlessly absorbing contemporary influences into an already heady mix. (They were early adopters of synthesizers in Cuba, too.) For several decades now, they have been hard-touring ambassadors of Cuban music, including at a show in Miami in 1999 where thousands of Cuban exiles surrounded the arena in protest, while riot police protected concertgoers (see video below). Watching footage from this show, we get teary every time: The atmosphere was so charged and the music was just so fucking alive. The only shouts at Los Van Van nowadays are fervent cheers, though. Step out for the evening and dance already.
9 p.m. Friday, June 24 | Hard Rock Live, 6050 Universal Blvd. | 407-351-5483 | hardrock.com | $28-$38
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