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Love in The Land of 1000 Dances for Valentine's Day

SATISFACTION Band, Johnny Hernandez, Hank Castro, Ray Carrion, CHICO, and SANGRIA Bands and others rock a lover's weekend

By Frankie Firme, Contributing Editor
Published on LatinoLA: February 18, 2016


Love in The Land of 1000 Dances for Valentine's Day


¡Happy belated Valentine's Day, Mi Gente!

LatinoLA is back online after a couple of weeks in cyber-limbo, but that didn't stop the music and dancing in The Land of 1000 Dances! ...sometimes I wish I could clone myself so I could attend all the great gigs happening simultaneously in L.A....that would be a trip, huh?

Valentine's Day weekend in The Land of 1000 Dances on the West Coast of Aztlan was bursting with color,music, dancing, and great weather.

Despite some great gigs in L.A., Saturday night was all about the San Fernando Valley, as the great SATISFACTION Band featuring Rita Melendrez invited a carload of additional talent to join them as Foursome Productions put on a pre-Valentine's Day concert~dance at the San Fernando Moose Lodge that will be talked about for a long time!

Hosted & DJ'd by East L.A. Revue Radio's Frankie Firme & Sugarbear, the San Fernando Moose Lodge 1522 was magically transformed into an elegant ballroom of red & white decor, with floating hearts, with lots of food & drink for a standing room only crowd.

Tejano singing Legend JOHNNY HERNANDEZ of Little Joe & The Latinnaires/Familia fame and best-selling author came on stage and opened the show singing some great Tejano classics, getting roaring applause for his renditions of "Las Nubes", "Mil Besos" and the ever popular "Rebelde".

Next up, the SATISFACTION Band came on stage and reaffirmed their place as one of L.A.'s top party and dance bands for that classy & good looking older crowd that can still throw some "chancla mas suave" to the Oldies,Old School, Funk, Rock & Roll, & Cumbias.

Singer Rita Melendrez was in her element as her silky voice and kick ass vocals got the crowd rockin' & rollin', and lead vocalist Robert Benavides show'd them ALL he still got the boogie in his bones! Guitarist Chris "Lil' Santana" Reserva was off the chain with his solos that got him some loud applause & appreciation.

During the night they called up guest L.A. divas that turned some heads: Lady Lava Gonzalez (Lava & The Hot Rocks, Blues Straight Up, Second Time Around Band fame) and former SATISFACTION Band lead vocalist Ms. Eileen Benavides, two of L.A.'s best.

Both these ladies had NO problem packing the dance floor with their strong vocals and charismatic stage presence, and I'm sure they will be asked to return. Lava & Eileen were simply magnificent, and they stole a lot of hearts tonight!

The evening was well into the night with the Gente dancing and romancing, when Hank Castro (Thee Midniters, Cold Duck fame) came on stage to a roaring applause and wow'd the crowd as usual, getting some loud "oohs" and "awws" with his trademark grinder "The Town I Live In" that packed the dance floor shoulder to shoulder.

My man Hank was on it! Brother got so much soul !

Not known for keeping things calm, SATISFACTION then called Johnny Hernandez back up on stage for a finale, and Johnny responded in style, belting out the Oldie but Goodie "Kansas City" that got all the rock & rollers up and on the dance floor....and the night ended in style, with a song and a smile!

[b]The next day was Valentine's Day, and music producer Ray Carrion pulled out all the stops for the sold out, standing room only crowd by bringing out some of L.A.'s heavyweights of Chicano Music fame, the ever popular CHICO Band, and the powerful SANGRIA Band at the City of Industry VFW Hall Post 1944.

Man! Hosted by Internet Television's Thee Mr. Duran and Jaqueline Zaragoza, this was like a hint of the upcoming Battle of the Bands coming up in April at Steven's Steakhouse! Electricity was in the air and the buzz was on![/b]

Top of the line munchies were provided by Loretta Perez and her L.A. Street Doggz crew, providing Loretta's now famous East L.A. Chicano style potato salad, with gourmet jumbo hot dogs and sausages in a bun with all the fixings, accompanied by some killer chili beans. (sound familiar, Mi Gente?)

Opening the show, Bertha Oropeza & CHICO were simply marvelous, belting out classic Latin Soul and Rock & Roll, and put on a great performance that packed the dance floor from the start.

After a brief break, popular Latina Comedienne Monique Marvez came on stage to tell us ALL ABOUT love on this Valentine's Day from a VETERANA's point of view...and she had us all busting up with her gift of gab & giggles...such a talented funny Lady!

After a brief break where I was honored to DJ the Old School & Funk music for the big kids for their dancing pleasure, Ray Carrion and Matt Legaspi came on stage joined by a couple of SANGRIA Band members and gave us some smooth Oldies and butt slapping dance tunes.

After that, SANGRIA came on stage to a loud ovation as the dual guns of Lady vocalists Francis Ruedas and Renee Marquez made the large audience stand up and take notice. Be it Oldies,Old School,Funk, Rock & Roll, Top 40 or Cumbia, SANGRIA fit the bill to a "T", giving the crowd more than their money's worth for sure. Francis & Renee gave some memorable performances as expected.

When you have 2 great bands sharing a stage, and talk all over the streets about the upcoming battle of the Bands in East L.A., you can just imagine (if you weren't there) the energy in the air as CHICO and SANGRIA put out some energetic & marvelous performances that the audience scored on, as the friendly competition resulted in a truly memorable show....and a LOT of dancing & smooching!

The show ended with me spinning the slow dancing, smooch & romancing Oldies for the lovers in the house until closing...and there were A LOT!

And THAT's the way it was on Valentine's Day weekend 2016, from my side of the 'hood & tracks...hope yours was just as good!

Photo credit: David Aguilar Photography

About Frankie Firme, Contributing Editor:
Frankie Firme is the Al Capone of the microphone & The Hitman of West Coast Chicano Soul, heard daily on World wide Internet Radio station www.eastLArevue.com ,and a regular contributor to this fine web magazine
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