June 17, 2005
Three brothers looking as if they might be the notorious Mexican Mafia step out on stage. Three men, standing in front of Carlos Santana's humongous stage set -- they look small, they look slightly out of place. A guitar, a drum kit and a bass are all they have.
And then they start playing.
The sound is Stevie Ray Vaughn meets the Refreshments. Immediately the semi-thug image of Ringo (yes, that's his real name) on the drums, with his bad-assed bandana melts away, revealing a young man who wants nothing more than to beat the rock out of the skins and send the beat flying into your face. His brothers, Henry (Guitar) and JoJo (Bass) step up to the mic and flawlessly belt out their art. Singing a gorgeous two part harmony while riffing tremendous Texas guitar-driven rock.
These are Los Lonely Boys -- these are the crown jewels of Texas rock. Heir apparent to the throne of Stevie Ray, they blew invisible walls off the shed of the Tweeter Center, and also blew me away. I was familiar only with their one radio hit "Heaven." I didn't know they were rock gods in blue button down shirts, pony tails and black pants.
Their short opening set at last night's Santana concert was worth the price of admission itself. At the end of their last song, Henry and JoJo performed some searing instrumental acrobatic feats which left people astonished and humbled. I mean, I can't even describe what they did it was so cool, funny, and awesome.
If you get a chance to see them live, do so. If you enjoy what they call "Texican" rock, great harmonies, latino flair and music played without overt and invasive technology this is a live show that you cannot miss.
I have a deep respect for anyone who can actually play an instrument, and play it well. Perform and perform well. I've always been a huge proponent of a lot of solo folk artists because there is nothing more pure, basic and incorruptable than a human voice and a guitar. Combine that with another gorgeous human voice and a bass, and another human voice and a set of drums which deliver the beat to your heart, and you've got yourself something so honest, so beautiful and so impressive. In an age where lipsynching is the norm and not the exception, hearing one off note and seeing the face of the musician who screwed up as he giggles -- it's all beautiful and good.
I loved them.
And they ushered in Carlos Santana. The master. El Papa. With his amazing lineup of about a dozen musicians, one would think the amount of bodies on stage were there to compensate for the man's age or inability to play.
Santana's guitar work is as pristine and pure as if it were the 60s or 70s. And watching him you can see this is an older man with the heart of a little kid, up there, riffing like mad, flinging his arms in the air to bring the audience to its feet to dance. Maria, Maria -- the man is amazing.
I'd rather watch ole Carlos any day compared to that decroded piece of crap Mick Jagger. He is the elder statesman of Latino American rock -- and it was humbling to watch him last night.
Along with Santana's amazing guitar work goes this bizarre spiritual/visual video production with a picture of the earth and a foetus super imposed upon it, followed by a dove flying, and gorgeous views of mesas and some African Tribesmen dancing. It is truly surreal, and I suppose if you are baked half out of your mind it might have a lot more "meaning." But for the clean and sober it is kind of funny and really sort of campy.
It was a great night. And if I could, right this minute I'd be at Hampton Beach checking out Los Lonely Boys again. I'm into it. Bueno!