Raul Malo House of Blues (Bronze Peacock Room) October 2, 2010
Raul Malo torched the Bronze Peacock Room at House of Blues Saturday night. Faced with a rowdy, lively audience packed with a huge percentage of 40-something ladies (especially up front) and their escorts, Malo wasted little time warming the crowd up as he plowed directly into his newest material from Sinners & Saints, which drops tomorrow.
Malo and his stripped-down, multi-instrumental ensemble opened with a muscular version of the title track, which sounded note for note like the record. They immediately plowed ahead through six of the nine Sinners tracks.
After a few remarks about the new album, Malo dropped into his extensive catalog and gave the ladies what they came to hear in the middle portion of the set: a Roy Orbison-ish version of the Jesse Winchester classic "Oh What A Thrill," "Lucky One," "Pretend," "Lonely Hearts," and south Texas boogie cover of "Guantanamera," which segued brilliantly into "Twist and Shout," marking one of several high-water marks for the night.
"Dance The Night Away" really got the party into high gear, and Malo moved into Tom Jones land with a tantalizing cover of "Blue Moon." The crowd went south Texas wild to the opening strains of "Volver," which Malo turned into an extended singalong.
Unfortunately, at this point things went a little wack. Malo and his band returned from the patio for the encore and jumped straight into Malo's signature rave-up hit, "All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down" from his Mavericks days, when the sound techs cut the volume on Malo's guitar and the accordion.
Malo slogged on for 15-20 seconds, thinking there was a technical issue, but after seeing the House of Blues stage manager signaling for him to stop, Malo began to heckle the sound men, only to be told "There's a curfew!" by the stage manager, who was standing in the rear next to the soundboard.
And suddenly the band and the crowd turned as mutinous as Capt. Ahab's crew. Malo hollered back, "Come on, man, this is rock and roll." Malo's scheduled stage time was 10 to 11:30 p.m., and this happened around 11:45.
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Finally, the stage manager signaled "one more" by lifting his index finger. Malo and his angry mates - particularly accordionist Michael Guerra - blasted through "All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down," and turned the solos over a couple of times as the crowd went into Dance-A-Thon mode.
And just to drive his point home, Malo immediately jumped into "Every Little Thing About You." Then the staff opened the doors, allowing the crowd in the Foundation Room next door to begin filtering into the Bronze Peacock.
But the night ended without incident. No harm, no foul, although it seemed to us like HOB might have handled Malo's encore with a bit more savvy, finesse and flexibility.
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Personal Bias: Anything that sounds like it evolved from the Sir Douglas Quintet is all right by us.
The Crowd: More prowling cougars than the Beijing Zoo.
Overheard in the Crowd: "What kind of music is this, that Texicana rock stuff?"
Random Notebook Dump: While it was certainly not a young crowd, it was a crowd that frequents live-music events and knows how to act, unlike the faux-Washington-Avenue fortysomething rock-and roll pretenders who douched up the Music Hall next door Friday night at the Cult.