It has been two years since Julieta Venegas’ breakthrough third album, “Si,” came out, and the Mexican singer’s transformation from melancholy rock chanteuse to pop princess has been thoroughly completed. Venegas was a shy, tortured performer, hiding behind her keyboards and accordion. Tuesday’s perf found the Tijuana native flirting with her adoring audience and performing silly dance routines with utter confidence.
Latin rock fans still remember Venegas as the creator of 2000’s “Bueninvento” — one of the genre’s apocalyptic masterpieces. Interestingly, Venegas performed only one track from that album at Hose of Blues, the Ennio Morricone-infused “Seria Feliz.” A new arrangement has sped up the tempo beyond recognition, stripping the tune of its original sadness and devastating longing — a remarkable feat.
But who can blame Venegas? She has conquered a new wave of Latino fans throughout the Americas with slyly constructed pop tunes that brim with sunny textures and lilting hooks. “Something is changing,” she sings on the opening “Algo Esta Cambiando.” This appears to have been Venegas’ mantra the past couple of years.
Venegas’ four-piece band tends to sound a bit sloppy at times, which can actually be charming whenever her music veers toward party-friendly motifs like ’80s new wave and rootsy norteno. But she has an able cohort in Tijuanese keyboardist and backup vocalist Ceci Bastida, whose choices add intriguing sparks even to the most pedestrian of songs.
Venegas herself was, at all times, the center of attention. Her playing on the accordion and guitar is more rollicking than ever, and she has perfected the smile of a real star.