Anyone who complains about jet lag should have heard last night’s concert at the Social Beach in Ostia. Fred Menendez and the three members of his band flew in to Fiumicino airport from Salvador yesterday morning at eleven o’clock, yet they gave a dazzling concert, playing until after 1 AM without showing a trace of fatigue. Fred’s flashy licks on his unique double-necked mandolin - Bahian guitar, backed by the tight ensemble playing of Orlando Francisco N. De Oliveira on rhythm guitar, bassist Jacivaldo de Freitas and Hilvaldo Patriarca Dos Santos on drums, mesmerized a big crowd with a surprisingly diverse repertoire that included rock standards such as ‘Hotel California’ and ‘Sultans of Swing,’ Brazilian classics (yes, they even played ‘Garota de Ipanema’), but also a rollicking version of Mozart’s ‘Rondò alla turca.’
We have to thank the nice people at the Social Beach for providing us with such an ideal venue. (Their history is notable; a few years ago, their property on the seacoast in downtown Ostia was an up-scale establishment, but it was seized by the courts because its owners were in the Mafia, and it was entrusted to a non-profit community organization.) Loona and Damiano did a splendid job organizing the whole event, including finding an empty apartment for the band to stay in while they are in Rome, picking them up at the airport, and, most importantly, carrying the ICBIE banner high, all evening long. And, as always, Damiano topped off the evening as his alter-ego, DJAmião, churning out his great mixes of Brazilian dance music.
And, for all our Roman friends who missed it, they have one more chance, because there will be another show tonight at the Noche de Roma in EUR— Via delle Tre Fontane, n° 7, at 10 PM.