It was all love in the beginning of Maná’s Cama Incendiada tour stop in Los Angeles’s Staples Center on June 18, one of two sold-out nights at the venue.
“Los Angeles, we missed you!” shouted the band’s lead singer Fher Olvera, after opening with new single “La Prisión.” “Being here always feels like we’re home in Mexico, so it just felt right to kick off our world tour in California.”
And it was here, “in the heart of California,” as Olvera calls it, that he was able to take a break from singing party anthems and tequila-drenched power ballads to speak directly to Maná’s diehard Latino fans about something the legendary rock band deems urgent: the fact that we are anything but living in a post-racial society, as evidenced by Wednesday’s terrorist attack on a historically black church in Charleston, S.C.
But Fher honed in on a certain real estate mogul and presidential candidate on Thursday night: Donald Trump, who made some anti-immigrant comments earlier this week. During the official kick-off to his campaign in New York City on Tuesday, Trump promised to build a “great, great wall” to protect America from so-called criminals.
“He said we were trash, he said that the people who came from Latin America and Mexico are rapists, thugs, and drug dealers,” said Olvera of the presidential hopeful, with palpable indignation. “Those were his words. We feel pity for this incompetent man. I have never heard a speech as violent, or as filled with hatred — not since Hitler.”
And then, amid boos directed at Trump, Olvera changed his tone into one of empowerment. “Latinos and Mexicans came to this country to build it from the ground up. It doesn’t matter what one cabrón said – just remember that he insulted our fathers, our mothers; he insulted everyone. And that is inadmissible. When you go out to vote, which is soon, you know what you have to do.”
“Plus — as Los Tigres del Norte say, now there’s more of us!” added Olvera, before launching into a cover of the equally legendary norteño band’s immigrant anthem, “Somo Más Americanos.” The song also appears on Maná’s latest album, Cama Incendiada, with a cumbia-rock twist.
The party went on after that moment of reflection, with Maná revisiting fan favorites across nine albums, and proving, yet again, why they’re the most beloved Latin rock band in the world. Remarkably consistent in their sound, yet still exhibiting growth and range on Cama Incendiada (which was just certified platinum), it’s no surprise that Maná has sold out Staples Center a record-breaking 11 times — more than any other act in music, regardless of language.
And yet, three decades after they started as a tiny garage band in Guadalajara, Fher Olvera, Alex González, Sergio Vallín, and Juan Calleros still know exactly where they came from.
This article was originally published in Billboard.com.