Santa Rosa concert of Mexican pop stars brings in nostalgic fans

When the band Chicago played Santa Rosa a few years back, Francisco and Vanessa Lopez went to hear them, just as they turned up Friday night to enjoy five groups playing classic pop Mexican ballads.“We grew up on these songs,” said Francisco Lopez, standing...

Santa Rosa concert of Mexican pop stars brings in nostalgic fans

When the band Chicago played Santa Rosa a few years back, Francisco and Vanessa Lopez went to hear them, just as they turned up Friday night to enjoy five groups playing classic pop Mexican ballads.

“We grew up on these songs,” said Francisco Lopez, standing with his wife before a large stage filled with speakers, drums and various musical instruments in the Sonoma County Fairgrounds’ Grace Pavilion.

Promoters expected 1,500 people to turn out Friday night for Explosion Grupera 2017. Part concert, part dance, the event was a chance to watch bands that had enjoyed popular hits in California and Mexico more than a decade ago.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the evening’s theme was all things “romantica.”

“We’re going to enjoy the moment,” said Francisco Lopez.

Among the event’s sponsors Friday was El Patron Radio of Santa Rosa.

The participating bands included Industria del Amor, Liberacion, Brindis X Siempre and Yndio.

Ambrosio Vigil, a co-producer for the event, said the bands all had hits in the ’90s or about the turn of the millennium.

Vigil, whose been producing shows in the county for almost 35 years, said Friday’s bands have recorded plenty of love songs and were “more suited for a Valentine’s event.”

The crowd was dominated by adults who looked to be in their 30s and 40s.

Rosa Perez of Santa Rosa acknowledged many younger Latinos might find the songs boring. But she has been listening to the music for much of her life and will keep doing so because “it’s so romantic.”

The concert would have been good with just one band, she said, but “with five groups, even better.”

One of her favorite songs from the era is “Y Si Te Quiero,” or “And if I love you,” by Grupo Vennus, the band that opened Friday’s show.

The five-member band, including drummer, guitar, bass and keyboard, led off with a ballad, “Pero Que Sera,” which begins with an ethereal keyboard riff repeated over and over.

Before the concert, the group’s lead singer and songwriter, Ernesto Sosa Naranjo, said in a brief interview that the band has been performing for 35 years. The Sacramento-based group typically plays Sonoma County about once a year.

Naranjo suggested through a translator that the evening was about bringing people together.

“Music unites everybody,” he said.

You can reach Staff Writer Robert Digitale at 521-5285 or robert.digitale@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @rdigit.

Our editors found this article on using Google and regenerated it for our readers.

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