The Upshot: Rock ‘n’ roll dance party served up with a joyous Americana vibe.
TEXT & PHOTOS BY TODD GUNSHER
Let me start with a question…do you like joy? If so, the NC Museum of Art was the place to be last Saturday, because The Mavericks brought plenty of that – joy in the form of a rock and roll dance party. You could tell the crowd knew what to expect as the dance area in front of the stage filled up early in anticipation of what was about to come. A soon as the band started their opening number, All Night Long, from their latest release Mono, the joint was jumpin’.
A few songs in, they let us rest a minute as they played Neil Young’s Harvest Moon, while the full moon was starting to rise behind the stage. Singer Raul Malo’s voice reminded me of Roy Orbison’s at times, especially during the slower numbers. That was one of the few instances the band slowed down. Another came about 60 minutes in when the band left the stage and Malo returned by himself and said a few words about the American flag flying in Cuba again, before dedicating an old Cuban song to his father. The audience was more respectful than any I’ve seen in a long time; other than Malo’s voice and nylon stringed guitar, the only sounds heard were those of the insects in the park. He followed that with Summer Wind, which fit the late August night perfectly and had some of the older members of the audience quietly singing along. Then the band rejoined him for another Cuban number, Guantanamera, which segued into Twist and Shout to bring the party back into high gear. If you weren’t on your feet by this point, you’d better have brought a doctor’s note!
As they were closing out the night, keyboardist Jerry Dale McFadden spotted a few young fans up front and brought them on stage to dance, and even let them join him, Malo, guitarist Eddie Perez, drummer Paul Deakin and the rest of the band for the final bow.
I’m not quite sure how I missed this band their first time around in the ‘90s – early 2000s, so I have to thank my friend Steve for telling me, “You must go see The Mavericks!” Now that they’re firmly back on the scene, and I know better, I’ll be investigating their back catalog as well attending one of their dance parties any chance I get.