Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys

Live Shots

Live Shots
Photo By John Anderson

Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys

The Oaks, May 25

If you have a problem with the "mallification" of the once-great venue known as the Backyard, and lots of people do, then look east. Just outside Manor, the Oaks is intimate and laid-back. With shade trees, a concrete patio, and a muddy parking lot, it could be someone's back yard. They were even selling gumbo and étouffée in honor of the Mamou Playboys. Against a slate-colored sky, the Lousiana quintet laid out two wide-ranging sets of Cajun music and, in the process, kept the assembled dancing. It's the reason they were there, after all. This was the case when a young woman approached this writer, a decided nondancer, and asked if I knew how to waltz. Riley – accordion on his hip, devilish smile on his youthful face – kept it surprisingly traditional, covering tunes by Cajun forefathers with surnames like Menard, Fontenot, and Balfa. They also delved into some swamp-pop, with fiddler David Greely picking up his saxophone, and some blues. The only English-spoken tune of the evening was Lazy Lester's "I Hear You Knockin'." In the recent past, Riley attempted a more contemporary, rock-leaning sound on albums, and there was just a little of that. But the main combination of fiddle and accordion, a rhythm constantly moving forward with robust harmonies, was proof why the Mamou Playboys are considered some of the finest at what they do. Combined with the down-home atmosphere, it made this a Friday night dance party, a near-perfect way to begin a holiday weekend.

Got opinions about bands, clubs, performers, and everything else good in Austin? Let your voice be heard in our annual Best of Austin ballot. Voting is open now!

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Scott H. Biram & Jesse Dayton
"Monkey David Wine" b / w "Single Again" (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Aug. 16, 2019

Texas Platters
Cactus Lee
Cactus Lee, Texas Yard Sale (Record Review)

Kevin Curtin, Aug. 16, 2019

More by Jim Caligiuri
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Her father's death and daughter's birth upped the stakes of the singer's finest work

April 14, 2017

SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
Soft Boys, Youngbloods, Moby Grape, Brian Jones’ grandson, etc.

March 18, 2017

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Time to vote! Best of Austin 2019 balloting is underway   VOTE NOW