Los Texmaniacs came to Dallas with specials guests Augie Meyers and Flaco Jimenez.
The sellout crowd in the intimate setting of the Kessler Theater began getting anxious well before the concert was scheduled to begin. Every fan knew what was coming and was ready for a tremendous night of music.
Eager fans were soon rewarded for the wait as Los Texmaniacs came onstage and began playing an instrumental song featuring Max Baca on the bajo sexto (a 12-string guitar with six sets of two strings) and Josh Baca on his powerful accordion.
Conjunto music developed in the 19th century when Germans settled in South Texas introducing the button accordion to the region. Along with the Mexican bajo sexto, the two instruments form the basis of Tejano music according to the brief, but interesting history lesson from Max.
Los Texmaniacs continued with a mixture of country, rock, and polka that was uplifting and positive, leaving everyone feeling good. “Marina,” a song they played for the troops last year, included an instrumental of “El Paso” and “San Antonio Rose” as a highlight at the beginning of the show.
Max joked about his wife leaving him for his best friend, and how much he misses his friend as an intro to “How Can A Beautiful Woman Be So Ugly.” As he did all night, Josh played amazingly on the accordion, do so as if he were the lead guitarist in a rock band. You might think of Max as the Ted Nugent of accordion players.
Los Texmaniacs played so much more than expected. “I Wanna Know Your Name,” off their new album Americano Groove, was a pure rock ‘n roll track that turned into conjunto music at its very best.
Max introduced the rest of the band during instrumental numbers that demonstrated their talent as musicians. Daniel Martinez had a terrific drum solo; Noel Hernandez rocked the bass guitar and Fernando Martinez impressed on lead guitar.
The band broke into a Deliverance duel between Max and Josh that electrified the crowd. The audience never had a chance to catch their breath, though, as they finished the first set with the classic “Down In The Barrio” and more country/rock/polka.
After a short intermission, they came back out with the great Augie Meyers from the Sir Douglas Quintet and Texas Tornados fame. Augie has been part of 56 albums over his illustrious career, and it’s easy to see why. He’s still a master showman, storyteller, musician, and singer. Great stories, jokes, and songs such as “If You Got The Deniro,” “Who Were You Thinking Of,” and “Guacamole” preceded him strapping on his accordion for even more great music.
The audience hated to see him leave, but the reaction turned 180 degrees when Flaco Jimenez, the living legend of conjunto music, came onstage. He and Max played songs from his past, such as “Together Again” from the Texas Tornados (which he and Augie co-founded) and “In Heaven There Is No Beer” that mesmerized the crowd.
Flaco continued with a Los Lobos song and a song he recorded with the Mavericks, “All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down,” before finishing the night with a tribute to his father, a pioneer in conjunto music.
It was fitting that a standing ovation accompanied him as he left the stage to end the show; Flaco has recorded with so many greats over the years. Playing with superstars from Bob Dylan to the Rolling Stones is only one of the reasons why he has six Grammys, including a Lifetime Achievement Award.
As usual, the Kessler Theater was the perfect place for a concert. The personal setting gave everyone a great view; the acoustics were wonderful, and everyone enjoyed themselves immensely for the nearly three-hour show.
Special thanks to Jeff, Cameron and Garrett for their assistance.
National Country Review photographer, Joe Guzman, was on hand to record the event.