Los Lonely Boys at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom on July 11

A review of the Los Lonely Boys at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom on July 11, 2007

, Staff

Los Lonely Boys delivered a performance at the Hampton Beach Casino on Wednesday night& that truly revved up their crowd… “Texican” style. The brothers, who label themselves the Texan-Mexican mix, fully satisfied the fun-seeking crowd (though the concert took place in a touristy New England sea town, several audience members dressed as if they were expecting to do some cattle ranching), giving them ample reason to dance like they’ve never danced before. And it did seem like some had never danced before.

The trio blasted into their set with what may be the most rocking song of their new album, Sacred. An electric energy surged through the building when guitarist Henry Gaza entered with the twanging funk riff of “Oye Mamacita.” It is a song with attitude, a perfect opener that utterly commandeered the attention of every crowd member.

After their next song, “Roses,” another tune from Sacred which, at one point, exploded with Henry’s rapid, technical Latin style shredding, bassist JoJo Gaza began to speak to the crowd in the benevolent, joking manner he would sustain for most of the show.

After JoJo’s spiel, Henry began to play Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” riff in wah distortion. The band played a hard rock version of the song complete with feedback and distorted harmonics. The version proved that that there is no adequate way of playing the Motown classic without horns, and it frequently felt empty and disorganized.

The boys launched into an all-out instrumental storm towards the end of “Superstition,” and brothers Henry and JoJo frequently joined together and jammed back to back – JoJo furiously tapping out lines at the highest point of his bass’s neck and Henry unleashing speedy pull-offs and hammer-ons at the top of his register as well. The two repeated this brotherly back-to-back stunt in “Nobody Else,” from their debut album Los Lonely Boys, as well as “My Way” from Sacred. The brothers, who rarely even sing unless the other does, made it clear that they were having a good time. JoJo frequently looked over to his left during these songs, smiling and pointed to adoring younger fans holding up signs.

The boys decided to slow down a bit with a soft, melodic love song from Sacred, “Never Met a Woman.” Henry began with an achingly delicate Spanish guitar line before he and JoJo entered with their typical pinpoint vocal harmonies. This time they were pleading with emotion, creating a corny, clichéd mushiness that didn’t stop Henry from shredding once again. The dancing audience members were then thrown for a loop when the song changed tempo, forcing them to alter their dance moves (a stunt that utterly confused the hell out of the drunken, ladies-night-out groups).

After playing an adequate rendition of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Susy Q,” the band finally performed the reason half the fans were there in the first place. When the first chords of their Grammy winning hit single “Heaven,” their breakthrough hit, were played, the place was in an uproar. Throughout the song, the trio pulled out all of the desperate gimmicks they could think of to get the crowd as pumped up as humanly possible. First they began to toss out picks…lots of picks. Then they allowed the audience members to sing, “how far is heaven” during the chorus repeatedly. A four-minute instrumental jam was added in the middle in which Henry was allowed to solo, making it roughly the tenth consecutive song where he was able to shred.

The trio ended their show with a fifteen-minute showcase, six of which were given to Henry for more shredding. The rest were divvied up between JoJo’s impressive slapping solos and a dual drum solo. The drum solo was the highlight of this final jam because it featured JoJo and drummer, Ringo, banging out multiple, intricate polyrhythms on the same set. JoJo then backed off to allow Ringo to do his own intensely rhythmic, lengthy jam.

The boys encored with an acapella rendition of “More Than Love” from their debut album. Not one of them wavered in pitch, and it was a performance that solidified them in everyone’s mind as a group with astoundingly talented natural singing abilities. The soulful song ended the concert with class.

Opening band De Sol served its purpose in pumping up the crowd with their standard Merengue tunes that were nothing extraordinary. However, the members were in constant motion and had a contagious spirit that set a positive concert-going mindset.&

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