Y La Bamba Celebrates ‘Lucha’ at The Lodge Room

The band celebrated the release of their seventh studio album and brought out QUITAPENAS to open the night. All pictures by Justin Bieggar/GUM

“I wouldn’t be here without them, and I wouldn’t be here without you,” said Luz Elena Mendoza Ramos, lead vocalist and producer of Y La Bamba during a tender moment of appreciation to their band and fans Tuesday night, May 2, 2023 at the Lodge Room in Los Angeles’ neighborhood of Highland Park.

Luz Elena Mendoza Ramos, Y La Bamba. Photo: Justin Bieggar (GUM)

Celebrating the release of Y La Bamba’s seventh studio album Lucha, the band brought out tropical Afro-Latin band QUITA PENAS to open the night of their sold out show, and curated a night which revolved around living in the moment — in both sound and in mind. Though the Tuesday night show was wrapped up early compared to typical shows, it felt as though nothing was missing.

Y La Bamba possess a quality live that stirs an awakening and teases an out of body experience due to Ramos’ emotive delivery. Centralizing themes and tracks from Lucha, the set acknowledged the past, but truly allowed an audience to stay in the present. False starts early on in the set saw Ramos redirecting the count between laughter, to then audience one-liners that emerged to rectify the situation: “drum solo!”; “bass solo!”

Y La Bamba. Photo: Justin Bieggar (GUM)

Walk Along,” taken off the new album, melted along a sonic pulse of infatuation before moving into a slower, warmer groove. Background vocalists complemented Ramos’ guitar work perfectly and it was one of many tracks that created a mesmerizing moment in time through harmonies. The set also saw beloved favorites such as “Boca Llena” that were more rhythmic in delivery compared to the album version, lacquered with the signature woozy guitar line, to slower tracks such as “Eight,” which Ramos dedicated to their friend and fellow musician Nectali “Sumo Hair” Díaz who passed away last year.

Witnessing drummer/percussionist Antonio Montanez lead QUITA PENAS’ percussionist on stage was an additional treat to the night’s performance. Both musicians conveyed a soulful aspect to each track which provided the structure for Ramos’ ethereal vocals.

QUITAPENAS. Photo by Justin Bieggar (GUM)


The wooden floor panels reverberated from rhythmic side stepping, in place Bachata movements, and a small conga line which weaved between the first rows as QUITA PENAS opened. All draped in white, the ensemble’s infectious energy drove their mission which was to make the whole room dance and leave their worries behind. Expressing that it was a shorter set than usual, QUITA PENAS stated they wanted to make it as fun as possible since it was a special night.

It has been years since I caught the band live and they are as fresh as I’ve always remembered. Their textured and spirited performance place them as a band that instantly make you happy upon listening.

All photos by Justin Bieggar (GUM)

Remaining Y La Bamba Tour Dates

May 05 – Phoenix, AZ – Valley Bar

May 06 – Santa Fe, NM – El Rey Court

May 07 – Albuquerque, NM – Fusion 708

May 09 – Dallas, TX – Tulips

May 11 – McAllen, TX –Gremlin

May 12 – San Antonio, TX – Jaime’s Place

May 13 – Austin, TX – The Ballroom

May 16 – Washington, DC – Songbyrd

May 17 – Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s

May 20 – Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle

May 21 – Minneapolis, MN – 7th Entry

May 23 – Denver, CO – Bluebird Theater

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