As good as you think The Mavericks sound on CD/vinyl/radio/iWhatever, in person they're approximately infinitely better. If you have a chance to see them in concert, sell your cat, your car, or your child and buy a ticket. You won't regret it until much, much later.
Raul Malo has the physique of Jack Black and the voice of Enrico Caruso. If you can relate to only one of those comparisons, you need to get out more. Or read more. Or both. And I'm pretty sure he thinks he has the best job in the world, judging by the continuous smile on his face while he performs. I guess he didn't get the memo about the approved Tortured Creative Genius Epression of Bored Contempt. (And, in fact, the whole band seemed to be having an excellent time. Suspiciously so, almost. Whatever.)
Seth Walker as a solo opening act rocked. His acoustic blues-pop set was the perfect counterpoint to the main act's in-your-face ensemble. Look him up on iTunes; you'll be happy you did. In particular, I recommend More Days Like This from his Time Can Change album.
Listening to music like this in the Winpac is pure agony. Sure, the surroundings are beautiful, the seats are comfortable, and the acoustics are [generally] awesome, but There. Is. No. Dancing. And while you might think that the genre-bending music of The Mavericks is not danceable, you'd be disastrously wrong. Horribly wrong.
Those guys can play anything. Seriously. With a nine-piece ensemble, including a trumpet player, a saxophonist, a guy in a funky white tophat playing an equally funky white standup bass, and a young Mexican kid who literally owns the accordion (seriously; have you ever wanted to give a standing ovation to a sqeezebox player? We did.), they have a rich sound and a stylistic range that surpasses almost anything I've ever heard. Western swing? Check. ZZ Top-ish licks? Check. Swaggering cumbia? Check. Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino Soundtrack Neo-Noir Ironic Drama? Check. Ballroom standards? Check...wait...what? Yes, their version of Sway is the best freakin' arrangement of that song - which, by the way, is only our all-time favorite song to dance to. Dance to! We couldn't! - we've ever heard, and we've heard a bunch of them.
This is not the best version of the song, and it features only Raul, not the entire band, but it's the best we can do for now:
Speaking of the Winpac...a $10.80 fee on a $30 ticket purchased online? Do you have any idea how ridiculous that is? Are the pixels made of reconstituted unicorn dust enervated by fairy bunny breath?
There were perhaps 300 people at the concert. I assume the band had a guaranteed gate so they weren't financially distressed, plus I suspect this was a gravy booking anyway. They're on their way west to larger venues and had we not been on the route, Sunday would likely have been a night of unpaid rest for them. But, still...I hope we don't get the reputation of having a beautiful-but-empty venue for quality acts. On the plus side, the crowd made up in enthusiasm what it lacked in quantity. So, we've got that going for us.
I like the English version of Come Unto Me better than the Spanish version (Ven Hacia Mi); both are on the band's In Time album. And I have no explanation for that, because the arrangements are identical except for the language. Oh wait; I know - I don't speak Spanish.
Maverick-member Robert Reynolds was once married to Tricia Yearwood. Sunday night, that was apparently his only skill...being the ex-wife of Tricia Yearwood. He was the only guy on the stage who seemed to be phoning it in. Fortunately, being the rhythm guitar player in a nine-piece band makes you something less than the focal point of the night.
Raul Malo is also an awesome guitarist. I'd pay a week's salary to see him sit in with Del Castillo.