Back in the summer of 2016, Jax-based Afro-Cuban Salsa outfit LPT was holding down a residency in the back room of 5 Points’s Rain Dogs. The band quickly earned an avid following, packing the dark, intimate space with enthusiastic supporters, which surely pushed the limits of Rain Dogs’s fire-code-stipulated capacity.
“The back room at Rain Dogs is where we really got our start. It’s small, hot, dingy and perfect,” says LPT’s bassist-turned-frontman Josué Cruz (who’s also a Void Mag contributor).  “When people started showing up, that is what took us by surprise. We always knew the music was tight, we just didn’t know if people were going to dig it. That place holds a special place in our hearts, man.”
LPT’s since earned a regional following, with invitations to play notable festivals such as Suwannee Roots Revival and the Savannah Jazz Festival, all due in large part to the group’s revelrous live shows, an act they honed during those early Rain Dogs performances.
On Friday, the LPT returns to where it all started to release a live album, El Fonquéte: Live. We recently asked our friend Cruz to dish on Friday’s festivities, the group’s soft spot for one particular 5 Points’ watering hole, and the LPT’s forthcoming digital drop.

Void contributor and LPT frontman, the multi-talented Josué Cruz. // Photo: Cole LoCurto

So, El Fonquéte: Live. It’s a live album, obviously. And LPT has gained a following, in my opinion, on account of A) the crack musicianship of the group’s members B) the authenticity of the sound (one that’s unique to the region) and C) the band’s infectious, rowdy, hot live performances. Where was the album recorded and was capturing that live energy at top of mind when deciding to put out a live album?
 The album was recorded live at Heartwood Soundstage down in Gainesville, Florida. The venue is all set up to film and record bands and the owners have done such a great job compiling quality gear. We took the approach of let’s just go in there and do our thing like we do, if we capture a quality performance, we share it. Our first three years of existence have all been about the live shows, which are a true representation of a band warts and all.
What’s on the album–a mix of covers and originals? And how did you decide that this mix of songs (curated in advance of the set) was a good representation of what you guys are doing, and/or where you’re headed? 
The album is a mix of originals and covers that we feel we’ve come to be known for so far; songs that we’ve truly made our own. When we originally started this, it was really about us getting together to play songs that we loved that we weren’t hearing live anywhere. The songs on the album are a good picture of what we’ve been up to for the last three years. It marks a point in tine for us and allows us to move forward.
And the phrase El Fonquéte–it’s meant to mean a jam, or party right? Tell us about the name and what it’s come to represent to you and the group.

Man, you’re right. A fonquéte is just an all out jam and good time. The word is actually a bit of Spanglish (mix of English and Spanish) referring to something being The Funk. When we were kids, if something was good we would say, “Damn, that’s the funk!” That became, “Yo, that’s fonquéte!” (Haha). Makes sense, right? Maybe, but still, LPT has adopted that as what we do when we play. Not only do we turn the night into a fonquéte, we bring the people straight up fonquéte. 

LPT’s gained notoriety for the group’s crack musicianship, infectious rhythms, and raucous live performances. // Photo: Cole LoCurto

 

You’re dropping it at Rain Dogs, where your group has roots, right? Tell us what that venue means to LPT. And what can folks who come to the show expect?
The back room at Rain Dogs is where we really got our start. It’s small, hot, dingy and perfect. We knew that it was the right place to release the album. For us, this album is all those Thursday nights stuffed back in there on that small stage and people actually coming to see us play and dance with us. When people started showing up, that is what took us by surprise. We always knew the music was tight, we just didn’t know if people were going to dig it. That place holds a special place in our hearts, man.

For this show, we’re are playing the songs on the album and a slew of new, original material too. There are folks that have been supporting us since day one and every show since. That’s our Familia! We’re going to do what we do, which is take it to the stage and leave it there. This show is for them. This show is for us. This show if for everyone, which is why LPT exists.

To see LPT bring the fonquéte grab a ticket here. You can also watch the group perform in our office in the video below.