Los Lonely Boys Gig Review

Phamous Phaces was the opening act and played a half hour set consisting of cover songs by 1960’s classic artists like the Beatles and Johnny Cash, along with some of their own Beatlesque compositions, at the Elsinore Theater in Salem, Oregon, on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. They were from Eugene, Oregon and even had a song about it concerning ladies of the night on 6th or 7th Street, by the 7/11.

Los Lonely Boys is a hard blues/rock, Tex/Mex power trio from San Angelo, Texas that began their careers as the backup band for their father. After they began playing on their own they were discovered by Willie Nelson, who featured them at Farm Aid and recorded their self titled debut album along with appearing on it. After the album was released on an independent label it was picked up by “Epic Records” and “Heaven,” one of the cuts became a number one single, selling over two million copies and winning them a Grammy for “Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group,” in 2005.

All that is just the tip of the iceburg, which began melting at 8:39 PM, when Henry, Jojo and Ringo Garza took the stage by storm opening with “Don’t Walk Away” from their most recent album, 2014’s Revelation. Henry played a signature solo on his Stratocaster as his brothers Jojo and Ringo drove home the beat. Ringo looked like a biker riding a hog behind his drum kit as he hammered out a driving rhythm in tandem with Jojo’s thumping bass,while the brothers sang their well honed harmony.

“I can’t tell you what to do
I got nothing left to prove….”

Jeramy Larraide came out on accordion for the next two songs that danced between Mariachi and rock & roll sonics. “Staying With You” from 2008’s Forgiven gave the trio an opportunity to exercise their excellent vocal harmonies as Henry punctuated the lyrics with hot guitar licks. As the song concluded Jojo thanked the crowd and told them that it was a great pleasure to be playing in Salem, Oregon. Henry’s fingers danced on his fret board producing sounds influenced by every great electric guitar player from Hendrix and Sumlin to Santana and Clapton. The trios’s three part harmonic singing was especially outstanding when they performed “She’s So Sensual” from 2011’s Rockpango and then Henry dove into his emotional guitar solo, working the audience to a frenzy as people stood up and danced to the guitar notes screaming off his instrument throughout the auditorium.

Henry produced some amazing guitar riffs that ranged in style from R&B and Latin to psychedelic and hard blues rock as the trio explored selections from all six of their major label studio albums. Ringo’s driving beat was mesmerizing as his four appendages produced a singular rhythm, augmented by the addition of Jojo’s amplified undulations. By the time that the band was rocking out to Creedence’s “Born on the Bayou” from 2016’s multi artist compilation Quiro Creedence, the auditorium was resonating with delight. Jojo sang lead occasionally changing the lyrics to “born in the barrio,” as Henry pulled out all the stops and wailed on his Strat between his brother’s vocals,

“Wish I was back on the bayou
Rollin’ with some Cajun Queen.”

Jojo announced that the next song was a hit in 1969, which coincidentally was also the title of their 2009 album, Forty Years Later. The song began with some distorted feedback and then exploded into,

“She came in through the bathroom window
Protected by a silver spoon….”

Los Lonely Boys perform at the Elsinore theater

Jojo sang more in the style of Joe Cocker’s version than the Beatles, but Henry took the guitar parts to levels not previously explored until the theater vibrated with his wah wah pedal variations. Ringo began drumming more intensely, it that were possible, as Jojo put down his bass and walked behind the drum kit where he played the conga drums until Ringo Jr. stepped in and took over as Jojo resumed his position on the bass. “Crazy Dream” from their initial eponymous release followed as Jojo sang,

“I tried to find myself
For a very long time
Somewhere I lost myself….”

In between vocals Henry wailed on his guitar until the trio sang in harmony when the guitar bass duo danced in tandem across the stage while everyone was jamming to high heaven. After rocking the house in every direction as all three artists had an opportunity to explore each selection in their own personal direction. Rather than a competition it was a demonstration of cohesive unity as each band member jammed until a dissonant rhythm manifested itself providing Henry the opportunity to begin a solo that reached a high pitch as he scratched out guitar notes while the band entered an extended jam with “Rockpango” the title song off 2011’s release.

“Oye` Mamacita” from 2006’s Sacred was somewhat jazzy until Henry once again led the tune on his guitar until the trio exploded in unified intensity. By this time the crowd was driven to frenzy and on their feet as Henry and Jojo told the crowd,

“We are honored to be able to spread our love here in Salem
Are you happy to be alive?
Sing along with me, all night, all night – ya, ya, yaa
Say you feel good, Just like heaven.”

Henry sang, “how far is heaven?” The trio harmonized and Nico Garza, Henry’s son, took his guitar and played the guitar solo note for not before returning the Strat to his dad. Then they all harmonized as Ringo Jr. played the congas and the quintet jammed until the song concluded and they all came forward and bowed to the audience as their ninety-minute set concluded.

Review by Bob Gersztyn

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