Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Brotherhood Tour @ WolfTrap

This evening we were fortunate to be in town to see two great Americana artists, Los Lobos and Los Lonely Boys at Wolf Trap's Filene Center. We have been fans of Los Lobos since the release of How Will the Wolf Survive?, but have rarely seen the group live. This was a great opportunity to hear their unique blend of blues, rockabilly, jazz, Latin and their version of Tex-Mex. They started playing an acoustic set with songs primarily from Acoustic En Vivo. One exception was the popular "One Time One Night" - which got the crowd involved instantly. They finished the acoustic set with "Guantanamera" - with Conrad Lozano singing and playing the Guitarron. The remainder of the show was rockin', with each member displaying their musical talents on multiple instruments. David Hidalgo alternated between the guitar and accordion; Louie Perez from mandolin, guitar, and drums; Cesar Rosas from multiple left-handed guitars; and Steve Berlin from saxophone, keyboards, flute, and baritone saxophone. It was an awesome display. By the time they go to "Come On, Let's Go", the audience was singing and dancing away - barely noticing when Henry and Ringo Garza joined in. The two stayed on stage when Los Lobos finished the set with an extended "La Bamba - Good Lovin'" medley.

I almost felt sorry for Los Lonely Boys when they came on - the stage itself looked huge after removing Los Lobos' equipment; many audience members were in line getting autographs from Los Lobos; and finally - they had to follow that act. We have followed the Boys since first watching them perform in the Tent at the 2003 Austin City Limits festival. Their debut CD, Los Lonely Boys, is one of our favorite CDs from this decade and we have seen the band perform a dozen times in the past 5 years. It seems to us that they sound better in smaller venues such as Nightclub 9:30 or the Uptown Theater than in larger pavilions. Maybe its the ability to stand next to the stage, beer in hand. But those days are becoming a distant memory as they become ever more popular. They started out tonight with the title track from their latest CD, Forgiven. We like this CD more than their second effort, Sacred and their cover of "I'm A Man" is getting a lot of play time on X12. The CD sounds like a 70's rock album - possibly their tour with Santana influenced this recording. The band then started interchanging popular favorites from their first CD with those from their latest. With each old song, the crowd sung every word. They were proficient as usual - and great entertainers. The chemistry between Henry and JoJo picking and moving together is fun to watch, as is watching Ringo jam on the drums. They finished the show with "Heaven" - still their most popular song - which made us wonder if they ever get tired of playing the song since its expected every performance. The Boys showed up to play and it was another great performance. We still wished we could have stood in front with a beer - but that will have to wait until their September show at Rams Head Live. Until then, we will be listening to Forgiven and Los Lobos' Acoustic En Vivo.

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