JAM Magazine Concert Reviews

July 19, 2014
Granada Theater
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Angela Patterson
Photos by Angela Patterson

The Mavericks

The Mavericks Score Big At Granada Theater

The Mavericks played the Granada Theater Saturday night to a jam-packed crowd. That's the BAND, the Mavericks - not Dirk Nowitski and his buddies.

In the event that you're not a Mavericks super fan like most of the crowd at the July 19th show, chances are that you haven't figured out what type of music they play. That's OK. I'm a huge fan and I haven't figured it out either.

That's because their music doesn't exactly fit in a magical "genre" box. It starts with country (the band is based in Nashville). So Country + Rock + Western Swing + Tejano + the Blues + some 50s vibe and a little disco = The Mavericks.

Lead singer/songwriter Raul Malo has a voice that's sexy and sultry and guaranteed to not only get you dancing in the moonlight but keep you coming back to more shows. He's the Cuban-American version of Roy Orbison with a dash of Elvis. With his incredible range and powerhouse vocals, he pulls the crowd into his songs which are mostly about love and relationship hits and misses. Check out the lyrics to "Fall Apart."

It's better to love and lose, to never have played at all
For sometimes losers are the only ones who win

I'd rather fall apart than never knowing loving you
For every broken-hearted lover, love was once anew
And that will be the hope that gets me through eternity
Along with all the memories that belong to you and me (Written by Raul Malo)

Malo is supported by bandmates Robert Reynolds, drummer Paul Deakin, lead guitarist Eddie Perez and Jerry Dale McFadden on keyboards. In most bands, the keyboard player is just another guy getting a paycheck. But McFadden, who is from Mesquite, puts on such an energetic show-within-a-show that the crowd can't help but do the twist and dance along with him.

Perez really shows off his guitar genius status during the steely intro of "Come Unto Me." When Malo gives the nod to start, Perez leaps into his stance to hit the first couple of notes, tossing his long black hair and smoking his guitar strings until you think they might melt.

Malo typically jumps right in with the lyrics to "Come Unto Me" after Perez grinds out that sultry guitar intro, but Saturday's show was the last one before a short break so he decided to immerse himself in the music and make it a party. Malo clapped, smiled and danced with the 1,000 or so fans that danced the entire evening. Why not? The previous song was "Dance in the Moonlight." I was dancing with my hands in the air - and I'm not much of a dancer. The spirited music grabs you and won't let go. Most of the crowd knew exactly when to count "two, three, four" during "Bring Me Down." Audience participation is a must.

Put On Your Boogie Shoes
Mavericks shows always include hits like "Back in Your Arms," "There Goes My Heart," and "Bring Me Down," but the band customizes shows to play for their local audiences. At JazzFest 2014 in New Orleans, the band played "Blue Bayou." At Saturday's Granada show, they played "Waltz Across Texas" and Willie Nelson's "Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground." That's just pure musical gold. I don't think I saw a single person that wasn't dancing during their version of KC & the Sunshine Band's "Boogie Shoes." It's a good thing that the show was at the Granada because seats were really not necessary. A dance floor is.

Fans of the Mavericks are just the kind of fans that a band wants: LOYAL ONES. One couple said they had seen the band at least 12 times. They drove to Dallas after attending back-to-back shows in Gruene, Texas.

"Raul's voice is like velvet and you can't help loving them," said Diane Ahnell of Plano, who has seen them five times. "They transform you somehow -- with all the band's energy and personality -- Eddie's vibe, Jerry's energy, Paul's drums and the guy on the bass who looks like he wants to undress you with his music."

Without making this sound like a Love Letter to Mr. Malo, let me break it down. His lyrics and music are phenomenal and the show is interactive and entertaining. Nashville needs to take notice and get away from the watered-down, bubble gum version of country music where the formula to writing a hit song includes a girl, a truck, beer and/or getting drunk and catfish.