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Review: Reggaeton star Jadiel puts bodies in motion at Studio Inc.




(This is the 34th entry in Soundcheck's summer concert series, The 50-50 Club. For previous entries, click here.)

I used to speak a decent amount of Spanish. Even today, years after my last college course, I'd like to think you could drop me into a bad part of Juarez and I'd be able to make it out with both my kidneys.

But musically, I'm still kind of unilinguial. So when I heard a Puerto Rican reggaeton performer named Jadiel was coming to Studio Inc. Thursday night, I had to run his official MySpace bio through Google Translate to see what I was in for. Here is part of what came out.

In a very short time has managed to position itself as a favorite of urban music, enjoy privileged position in radio OF PUERTO RICO AND LATIN AMERICA. JADIEL CONTINUES TODAY success and enjoyment of these with obvious humility and respect your audience.

Clearly, this was a show for me.

Studio Inc. is a popular Tampa hip-hop and Latin club, dark but ringed with glowing pink and blue lights and a massive array of pricey vodka bottles. It was more swank than I expected*, and more crowded.

All night, I found myself bumping into people, even more so than usual. I think it was because everyone at this club, and I mean everyone, was dancing. If you don't like reggaeton, I can see how you might think the beat and melodies are kind of repetitve, but on this night, with this eager Latino crowd, the music absolutely got booties involuntarily wagging left and right. It took the dancefloor a while to fill up, but once it did, every last clubber was in motion.

For this, credit must go to the DJs, particularly hip-hop turntablist extraordinaire DJ Grimey and reggaeton maestro DJ Domi, both from Tampa, who mixed Pitbull and Trick Daddy in with a few salsa/merengue numbers. Lots of wild dancing, and lots of screams every time one of them yelled "Puerto Rrrrrrriiiiiiiiiicoooooooo!"

Oh, hey, also: There was a dance crew in the house.


This group of dancers was bringing it on, stomping the yard and serving all comers left and right. Windmills, head spins, swipes, krumping, handstands -- it was wild. Coming across a dance crew is one of the true highlights anytime you go to a hot club. (Scroll down for more breakdancing photos.)

The dancers even got up onstage. After an opening set by Puerto Rican rapper Bertito Pantera, high-energy Tampa reggaeton artist Jayko Pa came on. He was full of energy, bouncing around the stage like a rabbit, but then the dance crew came up -- in roller skates, no less -- and put on a show behind him, spinning, flipping and gliding all around the stage. Crazy.

At about 1:45 a.m., on came Jadiel. He calls himself "El Incomparable" -- which, as best as I can figure, is Spanish for "The Incomparable," which is a pretty damn fantastic nickname -- and he must be a pretty popular figure in his homeland, because the crowd of several hundred treated him like a rock star. He looked the part, effortlessly swaggering around the stage in designer-looking duds and oversized shades.

The first two songs, Juquia Con Alcohol and Pretty Girl, were pretty catchy, danceable tunes, so much so that I found myself swaying and humming along by the end of Pretty Girl. Same with a few songs later in the set, including Me Gusta and Sol Playa y Arena.

The entire show was in Spanish, and without Google Translator by my side, I couldn't really follow along. I do know that whenever Jadiel said the words "mujeres" or "Latinos" or "Puerto Rrrrrrriiiiiiiiiicoooooooo!" everyone put their hands in the air and screamed.

There was also a little more dancing ... sort of. At about 2:20 a.m., Jadiel invited an array of women onstage for a booty-shake contest. A couple of bethonged beauties got maybe a little to into it, putting on a show that would cost you $20 to see down Dale Mabry at the Mons.

Men crowded around with camcorders, and women screamed for their favorites. The winner was a zaftig, wholesome-looking girl who earned a fistful of cash from Jadiel for letting her badonkadonk roll. 

Some things, it seems, just transcend all language barriers.

Next up in The 50-50 Club: Blind Man's Colour and Viernes, July 24, New World Brewery, Ybor City.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

* You know what was really ritzy? The bathrooms. They had their own sound system, bottles of Ciroc and Grey Goose on the shelves, a tiny disco ball above the sink, and the standard assortment of nighclub-restroom goods: gum, mints, cologne, cigarillos. I know it probably won't give Nova 535 a run in the national rankings, but it's still pretty decent.

Below, check out some more photos of the dancers at Studio Inc. Thursday night.

[Last modified: Friday, July 24, 2009 2:12pm]


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