Eslabon Armado Live At Smart Financial Center

Written by on July 14, 2023

Eslabon Armado obtains acoustic bliss by turning their heartbreak into a heartfelt corridos for Houstonians to enjoy.

Images by Sorraya Gonzales

On Friday, July 7th at 7 pm, the doors to Smart Financial Center welcomed fans to enjoy their favorite ranchera band. Fans gathered at the venue in a sea of blue jeans and ranchera hats, eager to hear their favorite tracks. As I walked toward my section, an usher guided me toward my seat. She directed me toward the fourth row in front of the stage, where I sat patiently for the show to begin.

Since there was no opener, the anticipation amplified each minute. Upon entrance, a screen with a QR code beamed at the guests. It was an ad for Dr. Pepper’s new strawberries and cream drink. If guests scanned the QR code, they had the opportunity to win signed merch by Eslabon Armado. A clever campaign alluding to the group’s generosity in giving merchandise to fans.

At around 8:40 pm, the MC greeted guests, asking them if they were ready to see Eslabon Armado. The crowd roared excitedly as the screen blasted a video montage of the band’s past performances. The montage gave an introduction to each band member, which I appreciated. The guitarists Damian Pacheco and Ulises Gonzalez, bass player Brian Tovar, and led vocalist Pedro Tovar then entered the stage with bright smiles.

The energy of the crowd became contagious with Pedro’s vocals, Bryan’s catchy bass lines, and both guitarists’ riffs. At the show’s commencement, the stage manager passed out roses to the crowd, a lovely gesture of gratitude toward the excited fans. During the song “Con Tus Besos” (With Your Kisses), the scenery’s pink lights brought glee into the acoustic love ballad. In a giddy trance, two girls went onstage and joined the lead singer for a dance, a moment the crowd thoroughly enjoyed.

The pink lights traded for yellow as the band performed their popular song, “Dame Tu Calor” (Give Me Your Warmth). The crowd sings along to the track while the guitarist skillfully plays their riffs. It was here I noticed that the guitars had double the amount strings. For instance, the bass player strummed with six strings instead of four, and the guitarist strummed with twelve instead of six, demonstrating their outstanding talent.

After the song, Pedro Tovar yells.

Donde estan los toxcios the Houston

Pedro Tovar of Eslabon Armado

Where are the toxic people of Houston.

Pedro Tovar of Eslabon Armado

A line repeated multiple times through the show as Tovar thanks his fans and Houston for being such a lovely place. In addition to giving a shoutout to the toxic people, he explains how the song “La Diabla” (The Devil) was about his toxic ex-girlfriend. As he performs the track, the lyrics flash on the screen, making me realize how intriguing Spanish verses can be, providing immense detail into the emotion of betrayal and heartbreak.

Another track that deserves more recognition is the song “Quien Es El” (Who is He), which discusses how an ex moved onto a new relationship too quickly. The flow of the lyrics and its message emulated that of “La Diabla,” barring a discussion of the jealousy brought by heartbreak.

Yet the song that deserves the highlight for portraying a broken heart is “Ando Mas Que Mal” (I’m More Than Bad). A song that Pedro Tovar states holds a special place for him. With lyrics such as

Ando más que mal
Gracias por matar mi alma

“Ando Mas Que Mal” by Eslabon Armado

I’m more than bad
Thanks for killing my soul

“Ando Mas Que Mal” by Eslabon Armado

The track relates to many people’s broken hearts, allowing the crowd to harmonize during the performance.

Although the tracks are melancholy, Tovar lifted the spirits by performing upbeat tracks such as “Asi Lo Quiso Dios” (God Wanted It That Way) and “El Rapido,” (The Fast) blasting confetti canons, handing t-shirts, throwing roses, and much more throughout the two-hour performance. The MC even handed out bracelets to members of the crowd who had the loudest grito.

The interaction with fans was astounding as Pedro Tovar took videos with multiple fans’ phones, invited people to dance on the stage, signed merchandise for fans, and did the most to show gratitude towards his listeners.

Another way Tovar established gratitude for his fans was by performing an unreleased track in acapella style. Despite not disclosing the song’s title, he states it should release in one or two weeks and that Houston is the first to hear it. Overall with a lovely melody provided by Tovar vocals, the track will be a hit once released.

After the snippet of the new track, Tovar performed an unexpected cover of a popular Bad Bunny Song. Despite Bad Bunny being a reggaeton artist instead of Mexican banda, Eslabon Armado does an excellent job creating an acoustic version of Bad Bunny’s song “La Cancion” (The Song), allowing fans to dance toward the rhythm of the guitars.

As the show comes to a close, the band performs their two most popular songs, “Jugastes y Sufri” (You Played and I Suffered) and “Ella Balia Sola” (She Dances Alone). With the confetti canon blasting one final time, they conclude their two-hour set on a high note.

With a wonderful performance full of talented guitarists, an energic crowd, and a fantastic vocalist, Eslabon Armado brings Mexican old-school ranchera music to the modern generation.

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