Tag Archives: the mavericks

DC Review – The Mavericks at House of Blues

Well I sure did enjoy another energetic, well-performed concert by The Mavericks at House of Blues-Houston. Opening with early hit, Tell Me Why, tossing in hits from throughout their 25-year career, adding some hits from their latest, “In Time,” and as we say in South Texas, adding a few other non-Mavs oldies “de pilon,” The Mavericks once again proved why they are one of the most versatile bands out there.

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Raul Malo fronts The Mavericks at HOB

Song after song had a crowd of over 1,500 loyalists dancing, singing along, and shouting their support. And as good as the band is, the crowd seems to energize the band as much as the band energizes the crowd. When it comes to The Mavericks, it really is a people’s band. And that was perhaps the best experience of the evening–the Mavericks fans.

I arrived early and stepped into the HOB restaurant for a beer. The crowd there was mostly loyalists, and a couple of ladies sat with me at my table while I waited to close my tab. Right off the bat, one of the ladies goes into her Mavericks story and how she’d only been a fan for a year or so, but that “In Time” had really helped her through some rough times in her life. Music does soothe the soul, and Mavericks music is probably best for it.

Later on, when I was finally inside the venue, another fan who came in from LaFayette, LA and brought his friends from The Woodlands gave me his Mavericks story. He had been a fan for years and just felt they were the best band in existence, given front man Raul Malo’s unequaled vocals. He had seen them in LaFayette, came to Houston, and looked forward to seeing them at the New Orleans Jazz Festival later this Spring.

Of course, there’s my local friend Jesse who brought his two kids to their first Mavericks concert. From his reports on Facebook, they loved it. I hear they are also big fans of Mavericks squeezebox specialist Michael Guerra. But it just goes to show that the Mavericks attract all ages and backgrounds.

Another friend, Javier and his wife came to enjoy the concert, not realizing the straight 2 1/2 hour concert would have so much music. Javier, though, did recall seeing the Mavs 20 years ago at Billy Bob’s Texas during his TCU days.

And on the way to the elevator after the show, there was a gentleman in a wheelchair just enamored with the band. He had gotten his first glimpse and listen of the Mavericks from their recent PBS special. He was filled with excitement after the show. I expect he’ll be at more concerts in the future.

So, I could go into a long, drawn-out review trying to remember as much of the set-list as possible. (They did play a lot of music!) Eddie is still is the best guitarist out there. Paul still drums like a beast. McFadden still tickles them ivories oh so well. The horn section which includes Max Abrams on the sax still wails. Michael Guerra is still a squeezebox master. Robert is still the funny guy and strummer. Filling that bass line quite well is Jay Weaver. And Raul Malo still mesmerizes the crowd with some amazing vocals.

That said, a good mix of the new and old is what folks in Austin, Fort Worth, Helotes and the rest of the cities in the tour should expect. Go check ‘em out! And if you haven’t purchased “In Time,” get it!

 

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DC Reviews ~ The Mavericks – In Time

Those who follow me on Facebook know I have The Mavericks on heavy rotation with my YouTube reposts, so, it is known that the anticipation of the arrival of The Mavericks’ In Time was wearing me out. A quick trip to Target at 9AM this morning and there it was! Already on replay #5, I can honestly say that I don’t foresee any future boredom–it is that good!

Back in July, I reviewed their extended play CD, so we know how good that one was and the five tracks from the EP are included on In Time, but the nine newer tracks are just as amazing. Kudos to Valory Music Company for supporting The Mavericks–good choice!

One track that has been the band’s 2nd song at concerts lately is the rockabilly-tinged Lies, which with some excellent guitars and a strong, soaring beat, will be a favorite. Lead vocalist Raul Malo wastes no time in showing off his range in the ballad In Another’s Arms. It’s haunting drum beats and piano are complimented by a break that highlights a beautiful string arrangement. Fall Apart is a fun and danceable break-up song, if you can believe that. The soaring chorus, horn section, and acordeon solo from San Antonio’s Michael Guerra will keep you humming–even after the first five listens.

All Over Again offers a recognizable Mavericks rhythm, but now with a very noticeable acordeon. There’s no doubt, as the LA Times keeps pointing out, that the Cuban crooner and the band cross genres and even add a dash of Tex-Mex. Malo belts out the ballad, Please Heart Forgive Me, in fine fashion, but As Long As There’s Loving Tonight and Dance In The Moonlight will rev you right back up.

And as the LA Times points out, the 8-minute epic that is (Call Me) When You Get to Heaven is powerful and displays all of the musicians talents, but it is the background vocals of the McCrary Sisters which adds a level of gospel to the tune that is much appreciated. As the tune ends, and even though it is lengthy, you still want more.

One of the tunes off of the EP is re-done in Español, Ven Hacia Mi (Come Unto Me). The tune just reminds me of how Malo pokes fun at some of the folks who are mesmerized by his Spanish-language songs. “I don’t know what he’s saying, but it sounds so romantic.” Thankfully, this tune delivers the right message.

The reunion was a long time in coming, but In Time is definitely a celebration of 20 years of flawless music.  One test of recorded material is a bands ability to reproduce it live. I’ve seen Raul, Eddie, Paul, Roberto, Jerry Dale, Michael, Elio and the various horn players perform some of these tunes live and they definitely deliver just as good live than in the studio. Now it’s your turn to deliver for them and purchase this CD!

DC Review: The Mavericks at Gruene Hall

I took some time out of my schedule to check out The Mavericks at Gruene Hall on Friday night. On a U.S. tour that has cemented their return to the music scene after years apart, Raul Malo and The Mavericks are back and stronger than ever.

The Mavericks have enjoyed their  return, playing some major country music festivals around the country. At Gruene Hall, though, they enjoyed a small, more intimate and somewhat eclectic crowd of Raul Malo and Mavericks loyalists. And The Mavericks responded with a powerful show.

Kicking off with 2012′s Back in Your Arms Again, they immediately went into a string of recently released tunes from their EP, Suited Up and Ready, and even included a tune from the upcoming full-length release titled Lies. After Born To Be Blue and Come on To Me, the Mavericks went through a memorable repertoire of their early hits (Pretend, I Said I Love You, Every Little Thing About You, and There Goes My Heart to name a few) while throwing in some tunes from Malo’s solo career, such as Moonlight Kiss.

Come time for a set break, Malo remained on stage as he usually has done, and provided the crowd a slowed-down version of Oh What A Thrill. He called up one of the best additions to the band, acordeonista Michael Guerra, and together, they belted out Besame Mucho.

The responsive crowd was also provided with musical treats, such as Twist and Shout and the tried and true Volver, Volver. The latter becoming a sing-a-long.

The encore brought them back for a short set, which included a tune from Malo’s last solo release, Sinners and Saints, and the classic All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down.

Between Raul Malo’s vocals, Eddie Perez’s guitaristics, Michael Guerra’s sweet acordeon, Jerry Dale McFadden’s keyboards, Paul Deakin’s drumming, Elio Giordano’s upright bass artistry, Robert Reynolds acoustic guitar and harmonies, and a mighty fine horn section (including a trumpet playing virtuoso who had just joined the band), it was a music-filled night–powerful, tight, and oh so right.

As someone who truly enjoyed the Raul Malo solo years, it is good to see The Mavericks back together. Whatever differences they had that lead to a break-up, on Friday night, it seemed like the formula still works. The guys looked like they were having fun on stage and they responded to the crowd like they always have–with energy and a lot of love. It was an experience.

Now, the new EP has soothed Mavericks fans, but much has been asked about the full-length release, In Time. Back in July, they announced a September 25 release; however, Valery Music, their new label, announced a change to January to align with the start of their 2013 World Tour. After a few more dates this year, Malo takes off on a solo holiday tour up east.

What they say is true, Gruene Hall is an awesome venue for bands that have a relationship with the crowd. I wonder what the Saturday show was like?