The sun settled on a warm Sunday evening in downtown Reno as a Cargo Concert Hall capacity crowd lined up around the corner, everyone there to see neo soul musicians Durand Jones & The Indications on their Cruisin’ To The Park tour.
Opening the show was La Doña, the name for San Francisco frontwoman Cecilia Cassandra Peña-Govea, who layers a rich tapestry of Latin and Caribbean inspired beats with tight horns and vocal harmonizing. The bilingual vocalist and trumpet player performed songs incorporating both Spanish and English, with a good amount of cumbia dancing on the floor of the full concert hall.
While the reception was warm, one moment seemed to elevate things and set the tone for the remainder of the evening: Peña-Govea introduced her band, saying that they were each friends of hers who she had been playing music with since the third grade. She then went on to introduce a song which was an original by her guitar player. The pop soul track seemed to connect with the entire crowd, igniting more movement on the dance floor. But it was the sincerity of the moment that resonated the most, and that dancing and warm reception continued throughout the rest of La Doña’s set.
The five-piece band of The Indications took the stage to uproarious applause. Jones walked out and demonstrated a flawless voice as the group played through a fair mix drawing from each of their three records, along with several covers featuring the group’s uniquely soul influence on the reworked songs, mostly notably may have been David Bowie’s “Young Americans”
The Indications’ talent as musicians is instantly recognizable, and their sound that captures a nostalgic soundtrack for lowrider car culture and Black honey-tinted soul vocal performances clearly attracted an audience made up fans of these cross sections.
The most vocal response from the crowd came during drummer Aaron Frazer’s falsetto-featured songs, with “Is It Any Wonder?” being the standout. Jones’ movement across the stage contributed to the sensual infusion of sounds. The vocalist thanked the crowd with sincerity for selling out their show.
For the encore, members traded instruments so that Frazer could take center stage to sing Penny & The Quarters’ “You And Me”, before Jones took the stage one more time to give an energetic performance of their upbeat groove, “Witchoo.” After which the room emptied out to ride the wave of the night’s performances into the warm air – and if the reaction to the evening’s music inside Cargo was any indication, uncomfortable future conversations with teenage children about a surprise younger sibling on the way may be inevitable.
La Doña frontwoman is Cecilia Cassandra Peña-Govea.
Shaun Astor / Tahoe Onstage