Cuco makes his debut in New Orleans


Ava | Senior Staff Photographer

Haley Soares and Patrick Miller

On the evening of Thursday, Oct. 3, a line of music lovers and students outside RepublicNOLA stretched down the block to see Cuco.  

This stretch of Cuco’s “Para Mi” tour was accompanied by the artists KAINA and La Doña — both of whom draw on Latin American influences in their music and performance. KAINA took the stage first, greeting the crowd and plunging into upbeat ballads accompanied by skillful playing of the saxophone, drums and keyboard. Afterwards, La Doña brought the crowd to life with her energetic performance of tunes inspired by the classical Mexican music of her childhood. 

Both KAINA and La Doña made a point of involving the audience, talking about their experiences as Latin American artists and different aspects of their lives and music-making process. At the end of each performance, both artists invited their close friends and family to the stage to dance and perform with them. La Doña even had her father playing the trumpet and accordion, and her mother playing the guitar.

At around 9:45 p.m., Cuco, the 21-year-old from Hawthorne, California, opened his set with “Keeping Tabs,” the second song on his first studio album, “Para Mi.” The album was released in July of 2019, after a variety of self-produced singles and shorter albums that helped him build a serious following prior to “Para Mi’s” release. 

Cuco, born Omar Banos, started producing music in 2015, with the release of “Heavy Trip” on bandcamp. He is known for his blend of psychedelic indie pop and has collaborated with artists such as Clairo and Jean Carter. 

From the first song on the set list, the audience was entranced by kaleidoscopic and mind-bending visuals that played in the background of the stage on large screens. The visuals spoke to the detailed nature of Cuco’s performance, as the backgrounds shifted colorfully with each song. 

Throughout his set, Cuco engaged the audience by playing music from across his discography, refusing to limit the show to the songs on “Para Mi” despite the tour’s occasion. He had the entire venue singing along to “Lover Is a Day,” off of his first album, chanting along in a sort of call-and-response manner. 

He closed out the set with “Sunnyside,” one of his singles from 2018. In the past Cuco has said that “Sunnyside” is one of his favorites to perform, possibly because of how representative of his style and mood the song seems to be. 

This was Cuco’s first time in the city of New Orleans. We are hoping it won’t be his last. 

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