Raucous Crowd, Latino Stars Enliven El Tri Watch Party

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"A que venimos? A TRIUNFAR!!!"

-- Piolín

Piolín's Jugada Musical feat. Gabriel Iglesias and Intocable House of Blues June 17, 2014

When you interview someone who talks for a living, keeping him or her on topic is about as easy as winning the World Cup. In other words, it can take what seems like four years to get a word in. That was my experience last week when I spoke with Eddie "Piolín" Sotelo by phone in anticipation of Piolín's Jugada Musical which took place at House of Blues on Tuesday afternoon.

The Mexican radio-show host and actor spoke with a rapid-fire cadence full of jokes, idioms, slang and colloquialisms. Although I had about five or six questions on my notepad, it was much easier to just go with the flow and converse informally with him. We spoke about his childhood in Mexico and how fitness, music and soccer played a big part of his upbringing.

There were a few serious moments, however, and Piolín's love he has for his community really shines. He recalled many stories of encountering everyday heroes, good people doing good things without a need for reward or spotlight. One of the reasons he is so popular (the L.A. Times once named him one of the most influential people in Southern California) is that he isn't a movie star with movie-star looks. He's just a regular paisa, like your class-clown cousin from Mexico who makes everyone laugh.

And that's what occurred at Piolín's Jugada Musical. The name loosely translated as "Piolín's Musical Play," as in the sports action, not a stage production. Sotelo also broadcast his show from the downtown venue, and along with a few special invited guests, and the backdrop of Mexico's World Cup match against Brazil, he provided a family-friendly good time the almost 1,100 people who made it in throughout the day.

The comedian Gabriel Iglesias, who holds the nickname of "Fluffy," began the festivities with a preview of his show at Toyota Center this Friday. Fans were given the opportunity to win tickets to that show, and a few lucky audience members were also selected for a private meet-and-greet with the comedian. Iglesias joked about how radio personalities sometimes don't know how to turn off their radio voices, and imagined how sexytime would play out with the "voice of God" providing the play-by-play. He also touched upon the Katrina disaster, and how Mexicans were a big part of the reconstruction efforts after the storm.

Once the game started, all of the attention and prayers of the room were focused on the Mexican team. A victory against the host nation would be absolutely glorious; nothing brings together Mexicanos like soccer does. The pride we have for El Tri is matched only by our love for tacos and La Virgen de Guadalupe.

The first half of the game saw a Mexican team on the attack, and they certainly outplayed the Brazilians although nobody scored. Brazil came out strong in the second half, but was met by Memo Ochoa, aka The Mexican Wall, who stopped six shots on goal, leading to a zero-zero tie to end the game.

I guess this is why most Americans just don't "get" soccer. Why are we so happy for a tie? Well, the Brazilian team is probably the best in the world, and the game was on their home turf. A tie also means that you are awarded one point, and with a win already under their belt, the chances are good that Mexico will advance to the next round, si Dios quiere!

Story continues on the next page.

After the game, Piolín introduced the musical guest, the Tejano band Intocable. The group from Zapata, Texas plays norteño music with corazón, and cumbias that make even the most macho of Mexicans dance like nobody is watching.

The boys began with their 2006 hit "Poco a Poco (Por Ella)," which is about as perfect a love song as any Tejano band can be. One thing is for sure, SiriusXM certainly paid the big bucks on the stage lighting, creating a colorful and vibrant environment of pink, green, blue and yellow that danced to the music beat for beat.

With their tight jeans and black cowboy hats, Intocable are true talented Tejanos who have been at the top of the norteño game for almost 20 years. I found myself singing along to "Eres Mi Droga," "Y Todo Para Que?" and "No Te Vayas," songs that I haven't heard in more than a decade, but that I hold in my heart as some of the best Tejano music I've ever had the pleasure to experience.

Lead singer and accordion player Ricky Muñoz then gave the best advice I've ever heard:

"Hey guys, instead of playing with your phone and taking selfies, maybe you should pay more attention to that cute chica next to you and actually talk and maybe dance with her!"

Best. Advice. Ever!

Personal Bias: It takes something really important and/or special to take me away from watching Mexico play in the World Cup with my father. That being said, watching fútbol and listening to one of my favorite Tejano bands is not a bad way to spend an afternoon.

The Crowd: Pura Raza!

Overheard In the Crowd: "POR-TE-RO!!! POR-TE-RO!!! POR-TE-RO!!! - Fans chanting for Memo Ochoa, Mexico's goalkeeper and hero of the match.

Random Notebook Dump: A little more planning and organization goes a long way. Things could definitely have been run smoother yesterday on the media and venue side, but as long as the fans had a good time, I guess that's all that matters.

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