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Saturday, April 27, 2013

In Which We Tex-Mex It Up At The Best Library EVAH 

Okay, so after a ten-year hiatus, popular Tex-Mex group, The Mavericks, fronted by portly, yet suave Raul Malo have reunited for an extensive American and European tour. Raul has been taking his smooth, dulcet pipes on the road with his solo band during those lost years. I don't know what the conflict (if any) there was, but whatever the case...THE BAND IS BACK, BABY!! All is forgiven. And it's evident they are having a blast playing together again.

Thanks to my wonderful friend, Suzanne, I got to sneak into WYEP's in-studio session with all nine members of The Mavericks.

wyep's lilliputian stage

That's a tiny stage, y'all! Nine men make for a snug fit. Despite being cramped, they played four songs that had the room jumping. Forever gracious, they all stuck around afterwards to chat with fans.

does my head look pea-sized, or what?
After dining al fresco at the Tin Front, Homestead's vegetarian restaurant, Mary Ann and I met up with my work friend, Sue, a newcomer to the Mavericks merriment. I love introducing friends to bands that rock my world.

drinking Moscow Mules, pretending we're back in Austin
"come in, tokyo..."

I've spoke of the Carnegie Library of Homestead before. It's a grand old structure indicative of its time, sitting atop a hill overlooking the river. Okay, so the river is waaaaaay down there, but you can see it if you look hard enough past all the urban sprawl. The rooms are lined with beautiful wooden shelves filled with various tomes, and there's an iconic portrait of Mr. Carnegie hovering above the masses. They still sell wine and beer, but now you can purchase an adult sippy cup to take into the theater and suck your vino through a big, fat straw all classy 'n shit. Andrew would be proud. I still think a crazy straw was the way to go, but who am I to judge. Pinkies up!!

Anywho, the theater within the confines of the library is a seated venue with a balcony. The problem I have with seated venues is all the sitting... and grumpy asscats yelling for you to sit the fuck down. Sitting in that uncomfortably-polite-white-person way is fine for a mellow, solo act or some fancy-ass classical music hoopla, but c'mon! Who's gonna sit down for the Mexican polka fest that is the Mavericks?

Bobby Buzzkill behind us, that's who.

Buzzkill: Sit DOWN!!

Me: Seriously? What are you, Grandpa? Get up with the rest of us. Clearly, you desperately need to shake your groove thang.


Me: Dude, every time you make me sit down a puppy dies. Do you want that on your head? Well, do ya, Grampa Munster? You may thrive on unnecessary puppy slaughter, but I will not let that happen. Not on my watch, Motherfucker.

And then I made his pointy, wee head implode with my laser beam eyes.

Or so it played out in my head. In reality I moved to the aisle to be festive with my steel drum friends who just happened to be two rows down on the aisle. Thank you modern technology for the easy friend locator.

I swear it's karmic payback for my younger years when I yelled the same shit to wasted chicks standing on chairs in front of me. What the HELL was wrong with me back then? Seriously. Now I'm caught in an a-hole karmic boomerang of my own doing.

Whatever. I abandoned my mates and moved to the aisle when the spirit took me. That's the thing about this band. Their music is so damn FUN! Two horns, one upright bass, one accordion, an animated keyboardist, and Raul decked out in his finest mariachi velvet vest with floral appliqué THAT'S a par-TAY! Over the course of 2 1/2 hours, they played all their hits to the delight of the crowd, including an older gent dancing down the aisle. Check him out. He appears at 4:19. He's gotta be a kick to live with, and a complete embarrassment to his kids.

Well done, sir. Well done.

The first encore was Raul crooning solo, covering old standards like the Steve Lawrence/Edie Gourmet classic, Something Stupid, building to a full-band version of the Beatles Shake it Up, Baby which got the entire audience on its feet, where we all remained standing for one of their biggest crowd pleasers, I Said I Love You.

Take that, Bobby Fucking Buzzkill.

(only recorded part of the song, because sometimes you just have to put down the damn camera and enjoy the moment)

The second encore featured Malo's son, Dino on drums for Shake, Rattle and Roll. Then they launched into the final song of the evening, All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down. Clearly, not wanting the night to end, Malo kept signaling his band to play the chorus over and over and over.

We all left buoyant, happy and humming. Sue became a full-fledged fan. In fact, she couldn't stop talking about how much fun she had the next day at work. Further evidence of the euphoric nature of live music. and its ability to elevate ones spirits. And people wonder why I go to so many concerts.

Some random notes on the evening:

1. Five-inch platform shoes and a short, slinky dress is a dangerous combo, just ask the blonde chippie who fell off her hooker pumps in front of God and everyone waiting in line while she gracelessly descended the outdoor stairs.

2. Because the Fates are a bunch of vindictive dickheads, she naturally ended up sitting in front of us. Very funny, assholes. Between recording the ceiling with her iPhone and Facebooking (is that even a word, let alone a verb?), this helium-voiced, trainwreck of a girl frantically searched under her seat, via blazing bright iPhone flashlight, for her discarded jacket and ticket during the encore. Train..Wreck. With a capital Hot Mess. At least she was dancing, however precariously atop those slender Jezebel heels.

3. Accordions kick up the fun factor ten fold.

4. The crowd skewed older, which none of the band members seemed to mind-hey they're older, too. But, Daaaamn! There were some crazy-fun 60-something women with black and white blocked hair dancing, singing and flinging stuff on stage. They were definitely the mayors of the I-don't-give-a-shit-I'm-doing-my-thing section. They were awesome! An inspiration for all to see it's possible to maintain ones enthusiasm, abandon and verve later in life. I see my future in them. Sorry Geo.

5. Playing air steel drum to Guantanamera is not nearly as hip or cool as one would think.

6. Accordions AND brass kick up the fun factor twenty fold.

7. You can't go wrong with the Mavericks' style of Tex Mex fun.

and finally,
8. Never pass up the opportunity to make a spectacle of yourself.

just because we're lovable idiots

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