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What could be more ironic then a mariachi band covering Neil Diamond's "Coming to America?" Opening act El Mariachi did just that, and I hope the well-lubricated crowd at the Belly Up enjoyed the humor of it. The 13-member troop got the night off to a boisterous start.

Headliners Los Lobos will be celebrating their 40th anniversary in 2013 and though the L.A. band has a couple of elder statesmen among them, the music is anything but geriatric. The band opened with "Burn It Down" and dedicated the show to the memory of recently deceased blues great and Howlin' Wolf guitarist Hubert Sumlin.

There was plenty of accordion and squeezebox action for the Spanish-language songs, which made for liveliness on the dance floor. Many of their songs dissolved into jam sessions, such as the cover of Fats Domino's "The Fat Man," while Ritchie Valens's "C'mon, Let's Go" had a meaty middle full of intricacies.

The crowd (myself included) seemed perplexed by the absence of the biggies from the set list, such as "La Bamba" and "Will the Wolf Survive," but a Los Lobos show is always so musically rich, none complained.

  • Concert: Los Lobos with El Mariachi
  • Date: December 4
  • Venue: Belly Up
  • Seats: General
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