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Los Super Seven (or was that Los Lobos) turn in joyous sound

Ukrainian Culture Center, Los Angeles, June 8, 2022

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

This "Concert for Democracy," which raised money for Texas voting rights and the people of war-torn Ukraine, was billed as a Los Super Seven concert. However, as it featured three members of Los Lobos (including that band's two lead vocalists/guitarists), it was pretty darn close to a Los Lobos show. Musicians rotated on and off the stage throughout the night, so it rarely felt like it was just any one band, at any given time.

San Antonio's Los Texmaniacs did open the night, but it wasn't long before artists like Rick Trevino, Ruben Ramos, David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas joined in with these Tex-Mex players. Everyone seemed to be doing their altruistic part for the cause and in turn, created a joyous sound.

One got the impression these East Los Angeles musicians felt little pressure to put on a typical Los Lobos show, which then allowed them to just have fun and play a set of mostly covers. The audience also treated this show differently than a typical concert (although their response looked and felt like familiar Los Lobos concert behavior).

The small hall has a dancefloor, and attendees moved to the front of the stage to dance early in the performance and never returned to their seats. These movers and shakers included grandmothers, grandfathers, mature adults and children. It quickly transformed into a celebratory dance party. Sometimes, it felt like a high school dance, accompanied by the very best covers band you could ever imagine.

Yes, the players closed out with "La Bamba," while Rosas sang "Don't Worry Baby" and Hidalgo sang "I Got Loaded," all Los Lobos-associated songs. But then, just after Rosas said goodnight, Hidalgo launched into a thunderous take on Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze."

The second half began with the lovely La Marisoul, dressed in a red sweater and polka dot skirt. She also added Spanish lyrics to "La Bamba" later. Ruben Ramos, introduced as The Mexican Frank Sinatra, sang a few in Spanish with Los Texmaniacs. Trevino, perhaps the most diehard country artist of the evening, shined brightest covering Charley Pride's "Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone."

Although this was a benefit concert, it didn't feel like one. There was no preaching or political posturing. Just gloriously loud music. The white-haired guy sitting next to me wearing the Los Lobos shirt didn't seem to mind that, technically, this wasn't an official Los Lobos show. Instead, it was kind of a Los Lobos concert, along with many special guests and plenty of musical variety. Oh, and a time to dance of those post-COVID blues.



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