La Bamba

Los Lobos loosen up One World

La Bamba

All day Friday I had concerns about a possible mismatch between the sweaty intensity of Los Lobos and the new age opulence of the One World Theatre. The sextet’s second show that night couldn’t have been more engaging.

The One World is intimate enough that you almost feel like you're sitting in on a rehearsal. It was obvious they felt it too, joking with the audience and taking requests throughout a two-hour set that was freewheeling yet masterful, touching every corner of their 35-plus years together.

As expected, the East Los Angelenos highlighted songs from superb new disc Tin Can Trust. Early on, there was the cruising groove of “On Main Street,” augmented by Steve Berlin’s saxophone blaze. By following that with a rave up of Jimmy McCracklin’s  “Georgia Slop,” from 1990’s The Neighborhood, before segueing into “Yo Canto,” a new cumbia, it was obviously going to be special.

Mid-show, David Hidalgo put down his guitar and picked up the accordion, while Louie Perez, who played rhythm guitar most of the night, took over the drum kit for an interlude of polkas and conjunto, Hidalgo offering a nod to the Jimenez family from San Antonio. They took on the Grateful Dead’s “Bertha,” which featured an Allman Brothers-style guitar duel between Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas, and the encore of “La Bamba” was especially expansive, with references to “Hang On Sloopy” and “Good Lovin'” mixed into an extended jam where the beat became elastic. Part of the audience, finally off its seats, ended up on stage. Leave it to Los Lobos to turn the staid One World into a party house.

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