Mavericks Tame Rodeo Austin

Raul Malo’s caballeros take opening weekend to the cantina

Even on a Sunday afternoon when the cowboys couldn’t rope the calves and the kindergartener-strapped muttons were busted – flat-out lethargic – not to mention the horse fillies failed to slalom the barrels, and no one could stay on the bull tonnage, Rodeo Austin still broke the bank. Paradise weather and the Mavericks saw to that.

Raul Malo leading the Mavericks at Rodeo Austin, 3.13.16 (Photo by John Anderson)

Raúl Francisco Martínez-Malo Jr. and I share a birthdate and birth year, but the Miami-born crooner, 50, wears a scarf like nobody’s business. The hat, the build, the threat of “Guantanamera” breaking out at any second, all combined with the Nashville quartet’s crisp rockabilly, makes the Mavericks’ brand of country distinctly cantina-ish. If Jimmy Buffett surfed gulf & western, Malo’s happy crew practice Cuban Swing.

Rotating on a circular stage in the middle of the arena where the beasts had tamed the bipeds, the eight-man band brassed off with a dual horn section and an auxiliary accordionist that gave the band a Mariachi punch. Fifty minutes of carnival pop invigorated the hall, and finally brought everyone’s boots upright for closer “All You Ever Do is Bring Me Down.” Malo led the charge with a tenor slumming in pop music rather than opera.

“We haven’t played the rodeo in 20 years or something,” he began.

From the gut-bucket blues of “Do You Want Me To” and an Augie Meyers organ bleat goosing “Back in Your Arms Again” to the Roy Orbison heart palpitations on “Waltz Across to Texas,” Malo led like a Leo with a cry to match. Willie Nelson had opened Rodeo Austin the day before, Saturday, and the Mavericks stampeded through his hole in the fence. Thirteen more days invite you to do the same.

Bring the Family, Y’all: Lazlo Hernandez, 22 months – not his first rodeo (Photo by Raoul Hernandez)

MARCH is Rodeo Austin music month!

Monday 14

Tuesday 15
Gary Allan

Wednesday 16
Andy Grammer

Thursday 17
Josh Abbott Band

Friday 18
Turnpike Troubadours

Saturday 19

Sunday 20
Tanya Tucker

Monday 21
Diamond Rio

Tuesday 22
Smokey Robinson

Wednesday 23
Brett Eldredge

Thursday 24
Eli Young Band

Friday 25
Josh Turner

Saturday 26
Kevin Fowler

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Rodeo Austin, Mavericks, Raul Malo, Willie Nelson, Turnpike Troubadors } Grouplove, Smokey Robinson, Kevin Fowler, Roy Orbison, Augie Meyers, Tanya Tucker

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