Saturday, February 08, 2014

Los Lonely Boys rip it up in San Juan Capistrano

My review was originally published on The Orange County Register Web site on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014.

Henry and Jojo Garza of Los Lonely Boys at the Coach House.
The trio heartily rocked a batch of new ones at the Coach House, while opening acts Thom Chacon and local duo David & Olivia left lasting impressions on a capacity crowd.

Throughout their hard-hitting 100-minute performance Friday night (Feb. 7, 2014) at the Coach HouseLos Lonely Boys need not have worried whether the capacity crowd was interested in hearing songs off the group’s new album, Revelation. Thankfully, they drew an enthusiastic and discerning audience interested in anything the Texas rock ’n’ blues trio served up.
From left: Henry, Ringo and Jojo Garza.
Singer-guitarist Henry Garza stepped up and asked, “Are you ready, O.C.?” – and then the band, with siblings Jojo on bass and Ringo on drums, dove into “Give a Little More,” a reggae-tinged tune sporting spot-on harmonies and impressive fretwork from Henry.
As strong as that opening salvo was, it proved only a warm-up for the Garzas, whose show built momentum as it went along. Of the new songs, the mid-tempo and tuneful “Blame It on Love” stood out courtesy of Henry’s emotive vocals and an especially nuanced solo that wrapped it up, while the soulful “So Sensual” featured classic craftwork adorned with artfully pumped wah-wah pedal.
Henry Garza
The aptly titled “Can’t Slow Down” followed, boasting a heavy blues-rock groove and plenty of dynamic interplay between the brothers and touring percussionist Carmelo Torres. “Don’t Walk Away,” yet another catchy song off Revelation, found Jojo on lead vocals, buffeted by a masterful repeating riff that blended with the verses.
From the established LLB songbook, the tender “Nobody Else,” from 2004’s self-titled debut, was a highlight sung in English and Spanish. And the regular set ended with a 10-minute take on their minor hit “Heaven,” with a good share of the crowd singing and rising from their seats to dance and move with the music.
The encore was even stronger, capped with a Tex-Mex handling of “I’m a Man” (more Chicago style than Steve Winwood) that eventually blended with that band’s charging staple “25 or 6 to 4," offering ample space for Henry to unleash some of his fastest and most glowing guitar playing all night.
Also on the bill was Thom Chacon, a singer-songwriter from Durango, Colo., whose introspective and compelling songs chronicled a mix of political, romantic and autobiographical topics. The bittersweet “Juarez, Mexico,” Springsteen-styled “Big River” and humorous “Bus Drivin’ Blues” (written when he was hired as both opening act and tour driver for an all-female Led Zeppelin tribute band) were among his strongest across 40 minutes.
And immediately winning over the crowd with their show-opening turn was David & Olivia, the Huntington Beach duo of Mr. Rosales and Ms. May, whose powerful half-hour set of originals would fit well in a mix with modern-day Americana favorites like the Civil Wars and the Lone Bellow.
Starting with “Every Now ’n’ Then (I Could Use a Friend),” May’s sweet soprano instantly added shades of texture, not just soaring harmonies, to Rosales’ singing and rhythm guitar work. That proved to be the case on other songs in their seven-song performance: “Finally Fine” was another outstanding cut from their new debut, On the Sea, an upbeat, infectious folk-rock tune with shared lead vocals.
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Photos: Bob Steshetz, Contributing Photographer

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