News Column

Review: The Mavericks at Granada Theater

October 7, 2013

YellowBrix

Oct. 07--DALLAS "I just wanna dance the night away/With senoritas who can sway," Raul Malo sang Sunday night, a wide grin on his goateed face. "Right now tomorrow's looking bright/Just like the sunny morning light."

His black shirt open to his chest, and his baritone pouring out of him like well-aged bourbon, Malo and his Mavericks bandmates, reunited after a decade-long hiatus, were right in the thick of their generous, two hour-plus set, a study in consistent ecstasy from a clutch of seasoned pros.

Dancing the night away, in the most literal sense, was something the near-capacity crowd was only too happy to undertake.

Sheer, spontaneous joy is a more precious commodity than you might think when it comes to live music. Certainly, musicians -- those who write and perform their own music, broadly speaking -- are quite capable of fostering an atmosphere where those in attendance and those on stage are having roughly an equal amount of fun.

But Sunday's show often seemed like the Mavericks were having as much, if not more, of a good time than those roaring after every song's conclusion.

And it would be hard to begrudge Malo, Eddie Perez, Paul Deakin, Robert Reynolds and Jerry Dale McFadden (who originally hails from Mesquite) an exultant victory lap, as it often seems like the Miami-founded quintet was a bit ahead of the curve in its early-'90s heyday.

They reconnected last year and in February, released one of the year's best records, the superb In Time.

Augmented by four touring musicians (horns, stand-up bass and an accordion), the Mavericks make music defying simple categorization. Flirting with everything from rockabilly and straight-up country to conjunto and jazz, its freewheeling sound is wholly unique and totally infectious. File them under country if you must, but doing so only hints at their full capabilities.

The Mavericks began the evening as In Time does, with three scorching, back-to-back-to-back numbers: Back In Your Arms Again, Lies and Born to Be Blue. It set a high bar the band kept clearing all night long, scarcely breaking a sweat.

Malo's voice, a genuine national treasure, tumbled forth between Perez's guitar licks, always delivered with a flourish of his long locks.

Even the slower songs -- Malo did mid-set justice to Ray Price's classic ballad For the Good Times, and his solo encore reading of Roy Orbison's Crying induced goosebumps -- had an undeniable momentum, making the rollicking night feel far shorter than it actually was.

The musicians on stage could hardly keep the smiles from their faces, their glee and camaraderie an almost palpable thing.

Glancing around at the dancing, drinking, grinning Granada crowd, it was tough not to wish the band really would just keep playing 'til sunrise -- tomorrow's bright morning light -- and letting everyone lose themselves in the music just a little bit longer.

Preston Jones, 817-390-7713 Twitter: @prestonjones

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