I went to see Mayimbe last week in Berlin as part of the Festival de Cuba congress, where they were performing the first date in their European tour. You could tell they were up for it and excited to be playing on stage. We made sure to arrive on time after being amazed at Los Van Van's punctual start in Hamburg last year, but they were comfortably late coming on stage. Venue I absolutely loved the venue: the Maschinehaus at the Kulturbrauerei in Berlin, which was also used as the congress venue. My immediate thought on walking in was that this is pretty close to my fantasy venue. An old industrial building (brewery?), it had a very high ceiling with bare concrete walls still bearing the odd hole and bit of graffiti. It was extremely spacious, with a balcony running along one long and short side of the room. It had a trendily industrial feel about it and wouldn't look out of place in a music video. The only slight downside was the concrete floor which took its toll on my feet after a few nights. Due to its size it was never too hot, and I didn't have to wear my usual 5 t-shirts. Gig Mayimbe was the third Cuban band I've seen live (the others being Maykel Blanco and Los Van Van), and they are my favourite so far. De la Habana a Peru is used in beginners classes here, and I'd always had Mayimbe down as a fairly chilled, quiet kind of timba band but live on stage the energy was something else! They put in a Springsteen-esque set of well over 2 hours. The sound quality was excellent throughout apart from one song which I thought sounded a bit off, but that could just be my untrained ear. They came out to Yo Se and I could actually feel my brain buzzing from the atmosphere. I'd never heard it like that before in a club! Then they played a variation of Intro del Mayimbe and introduced the band, and the next songs included De la Habana a Peru, La Diabla, a long version of El Animal (probably my favourite from the night) and more from the last two albums. Then they treated us to some material from their upcoming fourth album, which included a song called El Penal, and another with a high energy call and response (If I remember correctly: Se que no tienes verguenza/Mayimbe me quito la cadena). I'm looking forward to the album. Towards the end there was lots of dancing up near the back, couples and ruedas, and they did two long encores so are definitely good value for money.