Material: Kisspanic represents more than the Latin American bond shared among a trio of co-founders. It’s a story of a three-piece band that began to form in Chile when Rudi Meibergen met drummer Fer Fuentes at a college called Escuela Moderna de Música. It is also a narrative that climaxed in Los Angeles when Meibergen and Thomas Rojo were introduced to each other by the renowned music producer, Darryl Swann. Thus, Kisspanic played their first live show in September of 2018. And in January of 2019, they released their debut LP, Stereotape, a Latin rock album with an infusion of funk and post-punk revival. The single, “Orta Historia en el Mar,” shares many of the alternative-rock components that are featured in “Scar Tissue” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Musicianship: All three members of Kisspanic currently reside in Los Angeles. Nevertheless, they have made the collective decision to cater to the Spanish speaking market with songs like “Lo Normal Se Esconde.” Lead singer and guitarist Rudi Meibergen serves as the band’s primary songwriter. His radio-friendly lyrics and pop-chord progressions are the foundation upon which the rhythmic bass guitar riffs of Rojo are built. Some of Meibergen's compositions feature lead vocalist sections by the band’s drummer, Fer Fuentes. The progressive rock song “No Solo Tu Lealtad” showcases the vocal interplay of Rudi Meibergen and Fer Fuentes quite well.
Performance: Kisspanic performed six songs from their debut album. The trio’s music resounded in an upbeat style similar to bands like Cake and The Strokes. During Kisspanic’s rendition of “The Good Kind,” Meibergen and Rojo often displayed their skillful ability to manipulate the feedback and distortion coming from their amps. Meibergen sang all but two of the band’s songs in Spanish. Despite the language barrier, the crowd responded enthusiastically, with salsa dancing and nonaggressive mosh pits.
Summary: When Rojo played his bass guitar, he often shook his upper body to the point where his glasses practically fell off of his smiling face. His carefree demeanor set the mood for an evening of fun. Kisspanic’s charisma helped them appeal to an audience predominately made up of people who did not understand Spanish. Nonetheless, as this new band plays more live shows in the US it may become beneficial for them to cover at least one top 40 hit in English. That gesture could take their crowd engagement to the next level.