Last night I got the opportunity to see Cuco play the first of two shows in Chicago this week as he gears up for his debut album, Para Mi, coming out next month. He’s released a whole slew of singles over the last couple years, garnering over 100 million Spotify streams (or about $100 worth). I didn’t really have him on my radar until a few weeks ago when I heard “Bossa No Sé” and instantly felt like Cuco was working on another level.
Listening to him and reading a little here and there about his music, I didn’t expect him to play with a live band. The full setup threw me off for a minute, because I thought he would be one of those performers that brought out an iPad and just let the tape run (a phrase that already gives away the fact that I’m much older than most of Cuco’s demographic). What I was most impressed with was how easily the band flowed together. As a young musician it was interesting to see how much he let the band do their thing and never demanded to be the center of attention.
The crowd was the true center of attention for the night. A packed house that sold out a second night quickly after the original date sold out. Those people seeing him the 28th are probably a little upset that the second show happened BEFORE the show for which they bought tickets. That’s the way it goes sometimes, and I can tell them all truthfully that they are in for a great night of music.
At 21, Omar Banos seems to have an innate understanding of music. As much as his vibe makes me think of Drake, his knowledge of how music works reminds me of a couple other hip-hop masters: Kendrick Lamar and Thundercat. There’s a kind of quirkiness and funk that lies deep in his soul that permeates every sound he makes.
He also writes in a way that speaks directly to his audience. The feeling of inclusivity and joy at Metro last night was much different than the vibe I get at a lot of shows I go to. It was nice to be in a room with a few hundred people who all lent their undivided attention to the person on stage as a display of devotion to someone whom many feel speaks not just to them, but for them.