“La heterosexualidad puede ser curada(“Heterosexuality Can Be Cured”) read an orange and yellow billboard in the Zona Rosa, Mexico City’s historically gay neighborhood, promoting Omar Apollo’s May 31 visit to the Auditorio BlackBerry.
It was a simple and eye-catching marketing ploy to promote a cultural comeback for the 24-year-old son of Mexican immigrants. Apollo was returning to a city that spawned much of his creativity while making his latest album, Ivory: Aided by his right-hand creative director, Alberto Bustamante, known as Mexican Jihad, the singer spent weeks honing his craft in the city Bustamante has described as a “queer creativity hotspot”.
Tuesday night, as fans shouted “I love youand asked the musician to take off his shirt, Ciudad de México turned out to be the perfect place to wrap up his two-month-long Desvelado tour. Apollon brought his swagger and sensuality to a venue far too small to contain the high-energy moves and soaring power of the 6′ 5″ giant. With its unapologetic homosexuality, Spanglish lyrics and unparalleled funk and dance moves, this performance meant more than the end of a tour – it was also a way of representing Apollo’s parents, both born in Guadalajara, Mexico, in front of an audience of young Mexicans ready for the music of a child well connected to his roots.
After starting his set with “Talk” and “Useless”, Apollo assured the crowd in Spanish that “Our vamos a poner very sexy(“We’re Gonna Get Really Sexy”) as he donned a crowd-thrown cowboy hat and showed off his confidence and twirls while performing one of the best songs from his full-length debut album, “Killing Me “.”
The crowd couldn’t get enough of Apollo’s sexiness as chants of “a lot of rap“or” too many clothes “began to echo at the start of the set, to which Apollo replied with an approving smile and movements that made the singer sweat (an even better reason for the star to remove the zipped denim vest that he wore to the show).”Ciudad de México, ¿Cómo se sienten?he asked the crowd in the slight accent of a child who was clearly raised speaking mostly English in the United States.
That’s the thing about Apollo — like many immigrant children, he’s neither from aquí nor from allá, not from here or there. But he was welcomed with open arms as he commanded a stage in front of native speakers ready to support the flawed imperfection of the Mexican-American singer. Spanish. “Voy sa cantar una canción muy mexicano,” he said. This last word should be correctly mexicanbut Apollo no fidget and neither does the public. In fact, those little grammatical errors and Spanglish moments as he connected with the audience made him even more human and lovable.
After opening beers with his band, Apollo performed his three traditional all-Spanish corridos back to back, humming the heartbreaking lyrics of his Juan Gabriel-inspired “En El Olvido,” followed by the corrido tumbao “Dos Uno Nueve. His guitarist Oscar Santander and his bassist Manny Barajas joined him for this more intimate part of the set, highlighting their Mexican pride.Throughout the moving lyrics, Apollo mixed his Spanish tunes with gritos as he asked the audience to sing along with him. (And with these songs, they really did.) He capped off the Spanish portion of the set with his reggaetón fusion “Frío,” a reminder that when he experiments with his sound, good things happen.
Apollo slowed it down with songs like “Waiting on You”, “Evergreen”, and “Petrified”. During “Evergreen”, he asked the audience to “take over flashlights.The long sigh of slow songs only lasted a bit as he kicked things off with his track ‘Invincible’ featuring Daniel Caesar, which proved to be a fan favorite.
Apollo brought back the sexy dance moves — and an ear-to-ear smile visible from the back of the room — while performing his track “Tamagotchi” with Pharrell. And the “a lot of rap“The chants didn’t last long either. While performing “Kamikaze,” Apollo unzipped his denim jacket to finish his show completely shirtless. (The gays in the audience — and believe us, there were plenty of them — were living.)
“This is a cancíon muy sexy para los homosexuals,” he said in Spanglish, before asking the crowd, “¿Dónde están los gays? ¿Dónde estan los gays?“
Apollo ended the night on a high as he covered ‘Tamagotchi’ with its opener, fellow immigrant child Niko Rubio – commanding a small crowd early into the night with songs like ‘Amor’ and ‘Love You Till You Hate Me” – join him on stage for one final, final rage. As Apollo sang “You with somebody, or are you cool? / I want your body, you want me too”, he was draped in a Mexican flag as his bassist Barajas proudly waved his green, white and red.
Talk to rolling stone Earlier this year, Apollo announced his intention to likely move to CD.MX after the tour, “probably just to relax” but also to reinvigorate his creativity as he begins his rise to full stardom. On another level, it’s about connecting more deeply with a culture that his family apparently only left behind when they moved to Indiana before the singer was born. Last night at the BlackBerry Auditorio, it was clear he was comfortable and welcome here.