Midway through their Oct. 6 performance at Hoyt Sherman Place, The Mavericks’ vocalist Raul Malo stepped to the mic between songs with a grin on his face and apologized for the band’s non-compliant, genre-bending ways.
“You tell someone you’re going to a Mavericks concert, and the next question is, ‘Who?’ ” Malo joked. “And then they ask, ‘What kind of music do they play?’ “Malo laughed, as did the audience, knowing full well he was referencing the unanswerable — the band’s eclectic blending of rockabilly, country, rock, Tex-Mex, Latino, and Tejano sounds that make it damn near impossible to pigeon-hole them into one, two, or even three categories.
“We’re sorry for that,” Malo said to a roar.
Don’t be, Raul. That’s the way we like it, as was evidenced by the 900+ who turned out for the Sunday night’s musical potpourri.
After breaking up in 2004, the group reunited in 2012 and has has been recording new material and touring ever since. Mainstays Malo, guitarist Eddie Perez, drummer Paul Deakin, and keyboard player Jerry Dale McFadden, along with a five-piece accompanying band of horn players, percussionists, an accordionist, and bassist are back on the road once again in 2019, this time in celebration of the band’s 30th anniversary and forthcoming new album, “Play The Hits,” a collection of cover songs that is set to drop on Nov. 1.
As such, the Sunday set was covers-heavy, with the band presenting a half dozen tunes from other artists, including Duane Dee’s “Before The Next Teardrop Falls,” “Blue Moon” (Rodgers and Hart); and Hugh Cochran’s “Don’t You Ever Get Tired (Of Hurting Me).” The band swapped out Bruce Springsteen songs in the set, replacing longtime staple “All That Heaven Will Allow” with “Hungry Heart.” Keeping with the covers theme, the band dove into John Anderson’s “Swinging,” and wrapped things up with the golden-throated Malo channeling a near perfect Waylon Jennings tenor on “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way?”
That’s not to say the show was devoid of original material, however. In typical outside the box fashion, the band opened the set with “All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down,” arguably the most popular song from their catalog. For most bands, such a move is considered heresy. For The Mavericks, it’s simply business as usual.
The front half of the set rolled along smoothly with another hit, “What A Crying Shame,” and Malo’s introduction to “Rolling Along,” a song about smoking weed from the band’s last studio album, “Brand New Day,” in 2017.
But it was in the last half of the concert when things really took off. The Spanish-flavored “Every Little Thing About You” was pulsating perfection, eventually seamlessly flowing into to “All Night Long,” which kept the pitch at a fervor. The walking bass line and good-time vibe of “Back In Your Arms Again” was icing on the cake, proving that, once again, in The Mavericks’ world, swing is king.
Thirty years down the line, The Mavericks are as potent of a live act as they’ve ever been. Probably even moreso. How long they can sustain it, only time will tell, but don’t worry about the road ahead at this point. Do yourself a favor. Drop what you’re doing and let yourself soak in The Mavericks’ brand of magical swing, uninhibited.
No apologies necessary.