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Concert Reviews:
Brotherhood Heats Up Chilly Evening At Meadow Brook

Of the Oakland Press

Posted: Monday, August 11, 2008

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ROCHESTER HILLS -- It was billed as the Brotherhood Tour, but it felt more like a family picnic than a rock 'n' roll show Sunday night (Aug. 10) at the Meadow Brook Music Festival when the Latino rock tandem of Los Lonely Boys and Los Lobos essentially hung out with their instruments for the better part of three hours.

The show represented two generations of post-Santana Latin-American music, with the elder statesman (Los Lobos) graciously opening for the younger -- and reverent -- upstarts. Los Lonely Boys bassist JoJo Garza told the criminally sparse (about 2,000) but exuberant crowd that the tour was "a dream come true" for he and his brothers, and it was clear that Los Lobos was just as happy to be along for the ride and put a little heat into an unusually chilly August evening.

The highlights came, not surprisingly, when the two bands co-mingled on stage. Guitarist Henry Garza and drummer Ringo Garza joined Los Lobos for a two-song set that included Elmore James' "One Way Out," while Ringo came dashing back on when Los Lobos kicked into a version of "La Bamba" (which it recorded for the 1987 Ritchie Valens bio-film of the same name) that also included a bit of the Young Rascals' "Good Lovin'." Los Lobs guitarist David Hidalgo and saxophonist Steve Berlin returned the favor during Los Lonely Boys' portion of the show, closing the main set with a medley of the Dale Hawkins/Creedence Clearwater Revival hit "Suzie Q" and CCR's "Born on the Bayou," followed by the Spencer Davis Group's "I'm a Man," which Los Lonely Boys covered on their latest album, "Forgiven."

Los Lobos' Cesar Rosas, then popped on during Los Lonely Boys' encore, adding a second guitar to the Texas trio's breakthrough hit, "Heaven."

With all that going on both bands still had a chance to strut a bit of their own stuff -- effectively, despite a dodgy, bottom-heavy sound mix for both band. Los Lobos' 75-minute set featured a long, fiery jam on "That Train Don't Stop Here" but mostly went the covers route, from Dave Alvin's "Marie Marie" to crowd-pleasing versions of Traffic's "Dear Mr. Fantasy," "Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away," the Grateful Dead's "Bertha" and the Sir Douglas Quintet's "She's About a Mover" before Los Lonely Boys joined them.

Los Lonely Boys played for the same amount of time but focused more on its own material, showcasing their sibling harmonies on songs such as "Hollywood," "Staying With Me," "Forgiven" and "Nobody Else." Though the trio format can be limiting, the wah-wah pedal loving Henry Garza proved himself an facile enough guitarist to keep things interesting, particular on the lengthy intro to "Oye Mamacita," while the group had a bit of fun with guest vocalist Russ Steele on the loose-limbed "Guero in the Barrio" and injected some social consciousness with "There's A War Going On" -- before the Los Lobos collaborations reinstated the party feeling.

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