Why is Los Lobos one of the coolest bands on the planet?
Go buy a ticket to their show at the Cascade Theatre tonight and find out. There are still some great seats available to see the three-time Grammy winners.
But to answer the question in the first sentence, one reason would be David Hidalgo. He’s kind of the Jerry Garcia of Los Lobos, except that in addition to guitar (an instrument he’s great at, by the way: He was invited to Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival), he also plays accordion, violin, cello and percussion.
He plays accordion on Bob Dylan’s great new album, “Together Through Life.”
Los Lobos, as Allmusic.com writer Stephen Thomas Erlewine puts it, “Are eclectic in the best sense of the word. While they draw equally from rock, Tex-Mex, country, folk, R&B, blues, and traditional Spanish and Mexican music, their music never sounds forced or self-conscious. Instead, all of their influences become one graceful, gritty sound.”
Though the band is still probably best known for its hit cover of Richie Valens’ hit “La Bamba” on the soundtrack of the film of the same name, Los Lobos has created a host of excellent albums that are revered by fans. “Colossal Head” is one of my favorites.
One last reason they’re the coolest? The last time they played the Cascade they had everyone on their feet at the end and a host of people dancing on the stage. It was just hard not to feel good.
OK, one more reason: They toured for awhile with the Grateful Dead and their cover of “Bertha” is just such a killer version. Hope they play it tonight.
If you can’t get out tonight, you’ve at least got to venture around on Saturday. Saturday is a collision of 2nd Saturday ArtHop, and WinterFest: A Downtown Celebration. WinterFest is a huge open house event for downtown businesses. That Santa character will be at the Atrium of the Market Street Promenade (Placer Street entrance) from noon to 5 p.m.
Then, the ArtHop kickoff (at 5:30 p.m. in the same location) will feature a Hawaiian Holiday dance performance by Paradise Gardens Hui ‘Ohana, directed by Dan & Jan Baza.
After the kickoff, you can plot and plan where to go for ArtHop by printing out a map of the event.
In terms of music, Charles Valona is playing at Hilltop Estates (451 Hilltop Drive); the young jazz vocalist Stephanie Foos is playing at Vintage Wine Bar (1790 Market St.); and there are a total of 10 bands scheduled to play at the Downtown Eatery (1344 Market St.).
It should be a good night for walk around downtown with lots of folks out and about.