The Way It's Supposed to be Done!
The East L.A. Revue rocks the San Fernando Valley
Every so often, such a good time is had that I can't remember having the blues about the world we live in. Good music, dancing, and being around good people, even for just a little while, takes away my stress and helps me forget the daily struggles of life.
Published on LatinoLA: March 30, 2004
If I were a doctor, I would prescribe that before any pill or precedure!
So it was, in my never-ending quest to seek out Mi Gente in musical action, on a warm & balmy Southern Califas Friday evening, after a hard work week and the frustrating L.A. traffic, I find myself back in the San Fernando Valley joining Chuck Herrera and the crew of East Valley Productions, along with that great San Fernando Valley Chicano crowd for a tantalizing evening of music, dancing & good times at the Fairways Restaurant, Tavern & Country Club. A never ending effort of love to bring the finest in Chicano entertainment to the San Fernando Valley, Ole' Chuck outdid himself tonight!
Always a great place to get your week end boogie on, this week I was honored to serve as Host & House DJ for the evening, giving brother DJ Flacomania a well deserved night off, and served up a fresh dose of Oldies but Goodies to a receptive crowd.
Taking a night off didn't mean staying at home, as Flaco was in the house and on the dance floor all night. (Brother was looking good, too!)
As usual, the house band, The Company, featuring the "Diamond of the Valley" Becky DeSpain, got things started with their hot mix of dance music, getting the crowd up and filling the dance floor.
In between sets, I treated the crowd to a rare mix of 50s, 60s and 70s dance music, which got many of the older members of the crowd happily & easily getting their nostalgic boogie on. It was evident most of them hadn't lost a step!
Then the stars of the evening, the Veteranos of Chicano rock n roll, the renowned East L.A. Revue, opened up hard & fast, making their first appearance at the Fairways, and their first appearance in the San Fernando Valley in over 20 years.
From their first number, the musically powerful "Huggie's Bunnies" the Revue showed the crowd what's up, with their famed "East Side Sound," bringing many shared "ooohs" from couples as they exchanged nostalgic glances and smiles before enthusiastically hitting the dance floor....and IT WAS ON!
Showing a bit of the classy stage appearance & showmanship of a bygone era, the guys in the Revue hit the stage in tastefully matching outfits, making the perfect frame for the ever-beautiful & talented lead singer, Maria Conchita Sandoval, who completed the picture with her elegance in matching colors, and her dazzling smile that could break a thousand hearts. Her powerful, yet smooth vocals blended perfectly with the band for a one of a kind sound not heard from many of the current club/concert groups making the rounds today.
The butt kicking 3 man brass section busted it wide open, and emptied literally every chair in the house as the crowd hit the dance floor, with their well polished versions of such instrumental favorites as "Watermelon Man" and "All Night Long", with each member getting loud ovations from the crowd as they turns "showing their stuff" in short solos.
The Revue's outstanding interwoven conga/drums percussion section adds a truly unique Chicano flavor to each song, making some of them sound better than the originals. You just can't sit still to the beat!
The driving force of the rythym section, made up of a well-oiled machine of guitar, bass, and back up vocals, are so well in sync that even the non-dancers in the house can't help but rock out in there chairs, feet tapping & heads bobbing.
Not to be left out of the mix, lead singer Maria Sandoval wowed the crowd with heart stopping vocal rolls during such favorites as "Sabor a mi" and "Volver", which had the crowd cheering and singing along.
Be it an Oldie , Rock n Roll, R & B, or Cumbia song, Maria and the band were the epitome of talent and Latin soul on this night. Everybody in the house was truly proud of this great Chicano group, who did it the way it's supposed to be done! Steven & Janie Chavez, managers and promoters of the band, have truly done their homework.
As their 18-song set ended, introductions were made and the band graciously thanked everyone for coming out before saying goodnight. The moans of disappointment from the crowd were so loud that I took this as a cue, and began whipping the crowd up with loud chants of "?Otra! ?Otra!" (I do stuff like that sometimes...what can I say?)
Ever the professionals that they are, the band members exchanged quick glances and nods, and without missing a beat, broke out into a get-off-your-ass-and-boogie version of "Taking Care of Business," which had everyone in the house ? including the waitresses, bartenders and even the security guard ? breaking out into dance! were WE in the ZONE!!
I danced almost every song, and I kept bumping into Steven Chavez on the dance floor!
In the ultimate show of class and showmanship, each member of the East L.A. Revue went up to promoter Chuck Herrera and personally thanked him for having them there before leaving. Afterwards, Chuck told me "Wow! Nobody's ever done that! Now that's a classy group of people!".
The East L.A. Revue...more than a classy group of people...they're the finest Chicano Rock n Roll group in the World!! Take it from me, if you missed the show, you missed out on an experience!
And so my musical odyssey continues...bringing you the full report here, only on LatinoLA.com.
....who knows where Frankie firme will show up next?
Steven Chavez of the East L.A. Revue can be reached at (909) 897-7705
Chuck Herrera of East Valle Productions can be reached at (818)266-3180
Frankie Firme spins the finest Chicano style Oldies but Goodies in the World, every Thursday at 6:oopm, pst, only on www.kclafm.com