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A Concert And A Word With Brazilian Rockers Cruz

A Concert And A Word With Brazilian Rockers Cruz

For those elitists who consider North Hollywood the border at which hip events dissipate, provide me a momentary benefit of the doubt. As a Valley Village resident myself, even I was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled into an interesting and edgy crowd in my own backyard at an NRG Recording Studios event where I had the pleasure of experiencing a live studio performance by LA-based Brazilian rock band, Cruz.

Enrico Minelli’s baritone, Eddie Vedder-esque wails enveloped the audience– a blend of music industry sound geeks, and rock-and-roll authorities (that included the likes of Peter Frampton)– who had gathered to demo Slate Digital’s latest Virtual Tape audio software plugin.

Under Moroccan-themed tapestries hanging from the 12’ ceiling of NRG’s Studio B, the crowd swayed to drummer Daniel Pampuri’s easygoing slow beats, accompanied by the breezy instrumentals of guitarist Filipe Pampuri and bassist José Rondo performing “Someday” from their current EP.

With a sound that triggers a nostalgic fondness for ‘90s grunge, it comes as no surprise that Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Rage Against the Machine are among Cruz’s musical influences, along with ‘70s rock legends Led Zeppelin, Stevie Wonder, and Tim Maia.

“Back then it seemed to be more all about the music and real attitude,” says Daniel. “We are, and I guess we will always be, in a process of self discovering and learning and improving because this is what drives us.”

A Concert And A Word With Brazilian Rockers Cruz

NRG Studios makes a perfect home for the band, which has recorded a long list of industry heavy hitters Linkin Park, No Doubt, and Stone Temple Pilots. The studio’s owner Jay Baumgardner (producer/mixer for Bush, P.O.D., Papa Roach, Evanescence) signed Cruz to his NRG Artists label, and personally recorded and mixed the band’s soulful rock melodies.

“[The EP] would strike me as optimistic as far as the general appeal that it has. The sound is just a blend of what we love in rock,” says Rondo. “We had good times and bad times through the whole process but it was all important in the end and well worth it.”

Since relocating to LA, Cruz has traveled extensively back and forth between Brazil and the states, performing at SXSW and South America’s SWU festivals. They recently returned from a two-month sold-out tour across Brazil, and depart for their U.S. tour this week, playing with Alice in Chains, Megadeth, Alien Ant Farm, P.O.D., and Accident Experiment.

“Sometimes you get yourself in situations [when] you just look around and think, ‘man, if it wasn’t for music, I probably would never be experiencing this.’ Usually, these are some amazing feelings and situations so that’s what we are looking forward to right now,” says Daniel.

There are some elements of LA culture that Daniel says he would prefer to live without.

“Brazil [is] a different place where respect is built on the streets and not in some bullshit-talking here and there,” says Daniel.


He adds, “But, the city is magical… I love it.”

While The Viper Room and The Roxy have been the band’s favorite LA venues thus far, Daniel says he’s got his eye on Silverlake.

“El Cid looks charming and sounds GREAT,” he says. “I went to see my [current] favorite band The Vital when they played there and it was amazing…. so I’m looking forward to playing there soon.”

A Concert And A Word With Brazilian Rockers Cruz

Apparently, when in LA, Cruz misses more than Brazilian culture. The band gave me some insights into a few of their favorite dining spots for when they’re craving some authentic Brazilian cuisine. With LA Street Food Fest coming up this weekend, I figured all you foodies might devour these recommendations:

Bossa Nova
What Cruz loves about this place:
(Daniel): It kinda feels like home.
(Rondo): This is a actual Brazilian spot, excellent food, most of the staff speaks Portuguese and it’s open late night.
You eat here when you’re in the mood for:
(Daniel): Remembering life is great…hehe.
(Rondo): Eating a lot.
Recommended dish:
Galeto, bife a cavalo and picanha… everything else is also great.
(Rondo): Well… that’s a hard one, but I would have the Picanha with rice, beans, salsa and yucca flour… nahm.
Any dining/parking tips?
(Rondo): There is not much parking spots since it’s on Sunset Boulevard.

Choza Mama
What Cruz loves about this place:
(Daniel): Good food.
(Rondo): Food that just has that homemade taste.
You eat here when you’re in the mood for:
(Daniel): A real meal.
(Rondo): Eating plates very similar to the ones we eat everyday back home.
Recommended dish:
(Daniel): Lomo saltado.
(Rondo): Lomo Saltado (Extra Juicy!)
Any dining/parking tips?
(Rondo) Yeah, eat a lot!!

What Cruz loves about this place:
(Daniel): [It’s a] real bakery.
(Rondo): Potato Balls!!! They also have a great espresso. Not this American coffee that has no kick (no offense) or taste.
You eat here when you’re in the mood for:
(Daniel): Real sandwiches and natural juice.
(Rondo): A sandwich or savories.
Recommended dish:
(Daniel): Pan con lechon.
(Rondo): Have a sandwich, they’re all good, but you can’t miss the potato balls. They look like the ones at home, delicious and cheap.
Any dining/parking tips?
(Rondo): Plenty of parking. Just don’t go at Sunday noon or you’ll wait for eternity.

A Concert And A Word With Brazilian Rockers Cruz

Mani O’Brien often finds it difficult to believe that she does, in fact, make a living as a writer and graphic designer. Co-founder of the goofy site OnlyinthisCity.com, and online editor for FIDMDigitalArts.com, a site dedicated to inspiring graphic design and digital media for FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, she spends most of her time perusing the Interwebs for interesting and inspiring content. She will undoubtedly judge you by your astrology sign (in true form with her critical, perfectionistic, over-analytical Virgo nature). She lives in North Hollywood with her filmmaker boyfriend, and she’s made it entirely too easy to contact  (or cyber stalk) her.


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