The Mexican singer-songwriter shines for the faithful.
Only a handful of fans were at The Basement last night to see Mexican actress-singer Ximena Sariņana. Those who did turn out - mostly Mexicans who spent most of the night audibly anticipating Sariņana's Spanish-language material - were treated to a concise blast of metropolitan pop that ranked among the best performances I've seen this year.
Before satiating the faithful with selections from her Grammy-nominated 2008 debut "Mediocre," the one in Spanish, Sariņana spun through songs from her crossover-bait self-titled 2011 release, the one in English. Though many of those tracks sound like straight up club music on the album, the live setup rendered them as lively pop-rock, Sariņana perched at her keyboard with assistance from an able guitarist and drummer. The setup reminded me of Times New Viking; the music did not.
She was charming in either language, showing off a knack for melody that suggests she stashed a homing device somewhere deep inside the human consciousness. Before a solo run through the piano ballad title track from "Mediocre," she set up her own joke, hinting that sometimes she wanted to spurn ex-boyfriends by substituting the song's title with the phrase "motherf---er." By the end of the song, once we had forgotten the joke, she let the profanity soar in grandiose fashion. It was funny and kind of touching. Girl is the total package.