Carin León Turns Up The Heat at Toyota Center

Mexican singer-songwriter Carin León made a stop on his "Colmillo De Leche" tour at Toyota Center on Saturday, August 26th.
Mexican singer-songwriter Carin León made a stop on his "Colmillo De Leche" tour at Toyota Center on Saturday, August 26th. Photo by Violeta Alvarez

Carin León
Colmillo de Leche Tour
Toyota Center
August 26,

To the person who broke Carin León's heart... Thank you! Because of you, this singer-songwriter from the Mexican state of Sonora has been transformed into one of the most entertaining, emotional, and energetic performers in all of musica regional Mexicana. His show last night at Toyota Center was transcendent, filled with real love, real heartbreak, and real pinche party!

The evening began with a literal bang as pyrotechnics of sparks and flames illuminated the stage, and an early confetti cannon set the table for what would prove to be a beautiful spectacle. The video intro showed León riding through the Sonoran desert on his Harley-Davidson, the sunset to his back and saguaros to his left and right.

As an image of a roaring lion flickered on the large LED screens, Carin waltzed onto the stage wearing an off-white Panama style shirt, a tan cowboy hat, and brown pants with boots. He looks more like a line-backer than a singer, the embodiment of tall, dark, and handsome. His full beard and youthful smirk adds to the mischievous attitude, with the brim of his hat halfway covering his intoxicating big, brown eyes.

"Hoy es como un viernes para mi y la banda, es que vamos andar de pura peda esta noche!" declared León as he began his set. (Today is our Friday, so we are going hard tonight!). He began the evening with his 2021 hit "Secuelas De Amor," which opens with the line "Yo falso no soy!" (I am not fake). This sincerity about who he is and how he feels is one of the main attractions for León's fans. Carin seems to capture all of these emotions about love and heartbreak and funnel it into really well written and well composed tracks.
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Carin León began the night with sparks and fire, singing with confidence and attitude as one of the brightest stars in the Regional Mexicano genre.
Photo by Violeta Alvarez
León's voice is also very interesting. It's not refined like that of an opera singer or someone who has been classically trained, but it carries so much realness and sentiment that endears him to his listeners wholeheartedly. He followed his opening with the track "Alguien Mejor", which talks about being truthful about love.

León was supported by a large band behind him with 20 members that consisted of a full "banda" horn section with trumpets, trombones, and a tuba, and even a country music style lap steel guitar that added a nice tone to his sound.

"Creer en al amor es como creer en Santa Claus" proclaimed León before singing a cover of "El Farsante" by Juan Gabriel. (Believing in love is like believing in Santa Claus). "Its like a tootsie pop" he continued. "How many licks will it take until you find out that love is a fantasy!" León also performed Gabriel's "Me Nace Del Corazon" later on in the show.

He followed with "Quisiera Saber," a strong ranchera that slowed the tempo, allowing the crowd (and myself) to catch their breath for a few minutes. And then Carin began to hit those long, loud notes that forced him to hold the microphone down by his waist. It was reminiscent of the same action that I witnessed in watching the late, great Vicente Fernandez on stage. The crowd was in awe of his voice and actions, and let him know with a thunderous applause and cheers. My sister, who was my plus one for this show, looked at me after seeing this and questioned out loud "Wow! Who broke his damn heart?!"
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Carin León's set list was about 40 songs deep and two hours long, leading to applause and standing ovations by his fans inside Toyota Center in Downtown, Houston Texas.
Photo by Violeta Alvarez
One of the highlights of the night was next, which is when León invited Tejano legend A.B Quintanilla on to the stage for a trio of songs, including "Si Una Vez" (a cover of Selena), "Tennessee Whiskey" (a cover of Chris Stapleton), and "Que Vuelvas," the track that Carin sings alongside Grupo Frontera.

Carin thanked A.B. and gave him a huge bear hug after these three songs. "What a wonderful surprise that life has given me, the ability to play with and perform with one of my heroes" said León as Quintanilla walked off the stage. It really was a super cool moment.

The evening continued with cover songs, this time by Mexican icon Marco Antonio Solis and Los Bukis. León and his band performed "Mi Eterno Amor Secreto," "Como Me Haces Falta," "Te Necesito" and "Más Que Tu Amigo." Truthfully.... León could do an entire concert full of covers only and it would be one of the best shows I've ever experienced.
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Carin León sings with an emotional sincerity that is one of the main attractions for his fans.
Photo by Violeta Alvarez
He followed with covers of the late, great Joan Sebastian, and then elevated the party with "La Boda del Huitlacoche," "El Toxico" and "Ojos Cerrados." The night ended with "Alma Enamorada" by Chalino Sanchez, which fits León's attitude and aesthetic so perfectly.

A vaquero who was sitting behind me shouted "Carin! I love you for my sister!"

Same bro. Same.

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Carin León provided an amazing evening full of exception Mexican music, with a hint of country and a whole lotta love and heartbreak.
Photo by Violeta Alvarez
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When he's not roaming around the city in search of tacos and graffiti, Houston Press contributor Marco both writes and points his camera lens toward the vibrant Houston music scene and beyond.