Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Philadelphia

Xenia Rubinos with Pieri
World Cafe Live
Review by Rebecca Rendell

On Friday, May 27, genre-bending Puerto Rican-Cuban artist Xenia Rubinos launched the Puerta Abierta concert series at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia with a thrilling theatrical performance. Rubinos's unique vocals and intense emotional energy electrified the room. Dynamic lighting, costumes, and cleverly utilized props created sensational visuals, heightening the already ample drama. The entire space flooded with collective awe and heartbreak when Rubinos went all in on her rendition of "Did My Best," from her 2021 album Una Rosa. The entire set was sublimely beautiful and provocatively unique.

World Cafe is not a particularly large space, but Pieri opened for Rubinos with an energy worthy of any stadium. Born in Mexico, Pieri apparently lived in Philadelphia before settling in New York City. That Philadelphia edge still comes through in her audacious lyrics and dauntless attitude. It was thrilling to hear her blast out "Quien Paga," one foot defiantly standing on the monitor, one fist raised to the air.

What a fantastic way for the World Cafe Live to kick off this celebration of the diasporic sounds of Latinx culture. I cannot wait to hear what comes next.

World Cafe Live's Puerta Abierta Summer Music Series will, from May 27 through August 19, 2022, welcome emerging and established artists across a variety of genres and regions to its two stages, the Music Hall and the Lounge. The series features eight public performances at the venue, located at 3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia PA.