Los Lobos: Live at Amoeba Music in Hollywood* (Update)
Los Lobos gave a hometown crowd its first live taste of new songs from the group’s latest album, “Tin Can Trust,” at a packed in-store appearance Tuesday night at Amoeba Music in Hollywood.
The band had promised a five- or six-song set, but ended up running through 10 tunes in a free performance that ran just about an hour. They covered a half-dozen tracks from “Tin Can,” including the David Hidalgo and Louie Perez title track and the haunting “Jupiter or the Moon,” Cesar Rosas’ spirited cumbia “Yo Canto,” and their heavily funkified cover of the Grateful Dead’s “West L.A. Fadeaway.”
As always, Hidalgo’s keening tenor vocals alternated beautifully with Rosas’ grittier singing, while songs were further enlivened by empathetic soloing, mostly between Rosas and Hidalgo, but with a few tasty contributions from guitarist Perez and saxophonist-keyboardist Steve Berlin.
The new songs were supplemented by a few Lobos standards: “Don’t Worry Baby,” “Will the Wolf Survive?” and “Shakin’ Shakin’ Shakes.” Several family members looked on, including two of Hidalgo's young grandchildren. Drummer Cougar Estrada, who has supplemented the original lineup for most of the last decade, showcased his skills in the extended Latin jam on "Cumbia Raza" that concluded the set.
The new album has gotten generally favorable reviews, tallying a 76 on the Metacritic.com aggregate review site’s 100-point scale. It entered Billboard’s Top 200 albums chart at No. 47 after its first week in release.
The five core band members hung around after the set for an autograph and chat session with dozens of fans who waited in a line that snaked through the store.
Just last month, when Los Lobos played the Greek Theatre, opening for the Steve Miller Band, they didn’t include any of the new songs. Berlin explained at the time that having recently completed recording the songs amid the group’s always heavy tour schedule, “Now we have to learn to play them live.”
After Tuesday’s show, bassist Conrad Lozano said of those songs, “They’re getting a little better, a little tighter each time.”
Update Aug. 27 at 1:47 p.m.: Los Lobos is booked to perform Sept. 28 at Gibson Amphitheatre, sharing the stage with Los Tigres del Norte on a show billed as "Maldef Presents: The Concert for Truth in Immigration."
-- Randy Lewis
Top photo, from left: Los Lobos members Louie Perez, drummer Cougar Estrada and guitarist David Hidalgo during in-store performance Tuesday night at Amoeba Music in Hollywood. Credit: Courtney Frystak
Bottom photo, from left: Los Lobos members Cesar Rosas, Conrad Lozano, Louie Perez, Steve Berlin and David Hidalgo sign autographs at Amoeba Music in Hollywood. Credit: Courtney Frystak