Everybody's favorite Argentinean party band, Los Auténticos Decadentes chose to celebrate their 20th year anniversary in 2008 with a concert at Buenos Aires' Luna Park Stadium. Somos is a CD/DVD release from that already legendary show, featuring more than 20 special guests from other Argentinean groups such as Babasónicos, Bersuit Vergarabat, and Catupecu Machu. How different each of these bands is from one another speaks volumes about the universal appeal of Los Auténticos Decadentes, one that transcends musical trends, ideology, or fashion styles, all in the name of plain good old fun. It has often been said that Decadentes concerts are more like one-night carnivals than shows, and Somos is no exception. Armed with their unassailable set list of hymns to bohemian life and all merry states of dissipation, as well as their staunch position against infamies such as marriage, work, and dieting, all set to an hybrid mix of ska, reggae, and tropical rhythms, the Decadentes deliver exactly what their ecstatic audience expects. Cynics may point out that with a previous live album released only four years previously and a couple of greatest-hits compilations (that more or less duplicate the same songs over and over), there was really little need for Somos. Also, since musical virtuosity was never the point with this bunch of eternal teenage pranksters, their (somewhat) polished studio versions are always better than their live renditions, when their hilarious lyrics -- typically the band's strongest point -- are often muddled by too much excitement and/or alcohol.
Still, compared with the live CD/DVD releases of the same year by Soda Stereo and Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, Los Auténticos Decadentes' effort is probably the most honest of the lot. For one thing, the band is still together and at the peak of its popularity in Mexico, rather than staging a calculated comeback. In fact, a third of the tracks come from their last studio album, 2006's Club Atlético Decadente, and sit comfortably next to the band's classics with no discernible dip in quality. For another, their reason to celebrate is perfectly valid: 20 years ago, no one would have predicted such a long and successful career for a band that started as a flimsy excuse to party drunk. Finally, given the buffoonish nature of the band's members -- a far cry from the characteristic rock star snobbery of most of the Decadentes' colleagues -- the DVD extras (backstage, tours, interviews, the lot) are arguably a much better value for the money than most other similar DVD packages that flooded the market over the previous two or three years. In sum, Somos is a great souvenir for fans and an apt compilation of the band's greatest songs -- even if the greatest-hits collection Los Reyes de la Cancion or the double set Obras Cumbres would be preferable in this respect. More than anything else, it is an imperative reminder not to miss this party the next time it hits town. [A CD-only edition was also released.]