Los Lobos, The Fillmore, San Francisco, CA- 12/7
What can be said about Los Lobos that "those who
know" don't already know. They're a band that has
stood the test of time, literally unchanged in their
lineup, with music that defies a true label, as they
effortlessly jump from genres and tempos, with the
prowess of season musicians that have played together
for over 25 years. Their new cd, _Good Morning
Azatlan_ is easily one of the best
to grace the airwaves this year, and possibly their
best since Kiko....if not better, more diverse, and
full of soul.
I started seeing Los Lobos on Furthur Tour, in '96,
and was immediately blown away by their absolute
domination of the music they play. This says a lot,
because they play every type of music you can imagine.
I've seen them be the best blues band I'd ever seen.
I'd seen them melt a Santa Cruz crowd with music that
was so slippery and psychedelic that even the most
seasoned acid head was twirling uncontrollably. They
are full of both soul and salsa, as the crowd craves
their "Texi-Mexicana". But the Los Lobos I love is
the rock n roll Los Lobos, with guitar domination,
perfectly executed covers, and soulful lyrics that
speak to generations, and are wrought with experience.
Saturday was such a night.
Opening with "Will the Wolf Survive", the band
launched into a set of hard driving rock n roll that
would start out of the gates, at full speed, and never
look back til walking off stage. For 2hrs and 15
minutes Los Lobos tore it up. Personal
highlights for me were getting to hear eight
songs off of the new cd. The early trio of "The Big Ranch",
"Done Gone Blue", and "The Word" was absolutely
fantastic. "The Word" is a gem….and this version was stunning.
This song has so much soul that you could easily imagine it on
the airwaves in '74, or on a Marvin Gaye album of that
time. It shines. Following this was a storng pairing of
"Peace~>Dear Mr. Fantasy", complete with Steve Berlin
on flute, complimenting David Hildago's voice and
guitar prowess. Playing his cream colored Strat,
with a 'Steal Your Face' sticker, Hildago seemed nothing less
Cesar Rosas was typically cool with his delivery of
"Luz de Mi Vida", which segued into Marley's "Waiting
in Vain." "This Time~>Foxy Lady" was straight up rock n'
roll…no chaser…well, cept for that "High Places"
that actually chased it, which again featured
Hildago's screaming guitar leads, complemented by
Louis Perez's hollow bodied Gibson attack. Louis
Perez is a gem….and if you're familiar with Los
Lobos, you know what I'm talking about. His casual
approach is something that makes his shredding of an
axe all the more impressive…..but that's part of the
magic of this band. Not only do they shed styles and
genres effortlessly, but they also shed their
instruments to jump into other roles. Hildago would
grace the guitars, accordion, and percussion set, as
easily as Perez would jump behind the drum kit….and
both players would add to these instruments, rather
than just "passing time".
"Cinnamon Girl" was a guitar anthem dedicated to
David Hildago's wife, who's birthday was on Sunday,
and with a triple guitar attack, it was as grungy and
wonderful as anyone could have hoped for….and Los
Lobos owned the song temporarily.
After 25+ years, this is a band that still has fun on stage
its members still love what they do….and are getting better each
time I see them play. For this reason alone, I can't
grow tired of their music…a sound that is truly