News from the Brown Side of Town - 6.4.08

Happenings in the land of 1000 Dances

By Frankie Firme ~ Contributing Editor
Published on LatinoLA: June 4, 2008

News from the Brown Side of Town - 6.4.08

?íOrale, Mi Gente! After bringing on the Memorial Day weekend with a killer column here on LatinoLA by my compadre Al Carlos Hernandez, the rest of Aztlan got together and made merry, even after experiencing things like tornados in Moreno Valley & Chavez Bay, snow in Baldwin Park, heavy rain on the Grapevine, and the thunder brought on by the L.A. visit of Texas's very own Dallas Home~Girl, Annette Alvarez, and a smashing 2-day birthday bash for the KOOL KATZ Band's gorgeous lead singer, "La gata suave", Ms Kelly Galvan up in northern Aztlan.

OOOh ~ Weee! I don't know if it was another famous California earthquake, but the ground was shaking as the music was playing!

All across the country, the United States honored their brave men & women in uniform for their sacrifices in the last 6 wars of this century, and Gente across Aztlan remembered familia and friends no longer with us.

Heading up north to begin the weekend of celebrating with Art & Kelly Galvan of the KOOL KATZ, as Kelly "La Gata Suave" Galvan made her return after a brief medical hiatus to show us all that nothing's stop THIS gata, we hit some heavy weather! Careful driving and lots of good musica got us there safely!

As their guests, courtesy of promoter Bernie Gonzalez, my Lady & I joined Art & Kelly at a VIP dinner party at the Avalon Club in Santa Clara just before the EL CHICANO reunion concert with guest performers Richard Bean and SAPO.

Both groups, EL CHICANO from the south, and SAPO from the north, have played a tremendous role in creating the early 1970's west coast Chicano sound that has been recognized around the world as California Chicano~Latin Soul at its best, and on this night, both groups brought back original members for a long awaited concert, and both bands broke sweat and gave up killer performances.

After a short rock set by a group called MANZO, Richard Bean and SAPO took the stage, bringing to life their famed Bay Area Latin sound, opening up with their trademark tune "Ritmo de Corazon". Bringing back some of their original members, SAPO took a trip back in time, jamming their tunes and dancing on stage like the many years had never passed since 1971. Richard Bean was in his element as he was granted a request from the crowd that a moment of silence be shared in honor of SAPO bassist Jose Simon, who had passed only 3 ?¢ weeks before the concert. SAPO nonetheless gave the crowd their utmost best afterwards, and Richard shined like a diamond.

Sneaking a quick bite before the show with Bobby Espinosa, I was surprised at how excited he was. "Man, I haven't played with guys like Mickey Lespron for many years, and tonight, looking at this big crowd, all the lights, feeling the excitement.man, I feel 20 years old again!" And he performed like it, as he and Mickey took turns blasting out well known-solos on all their classic tunes, getting loud and racous ovations from an enthusiastic crowd, especially when they screamed out in unison "CHICANO!"

Known for his classic Hammond organ-dual Leslie sound, Bobby jumped from organ to piano sound and back with the polished ease of a grand master at work, having his way with the crowd, and loving it!

Mickey was in his own zone as he played his guitar in the unique manner that helped bring the sound of EL CHICANO to the attention the world more than 35 years ago.

Afterwards, both Bobby & Mickey met with fans, took pictures, signed autographs and bathed in the love of a large crowd backstage. Grinning from ear to ear, Mickey told me "I feel like I'm 19 again!"

Throughout the party, I found myself, my Lady and the Galvan's out on the dance floor, kicking up chancla and bumping into people like Johnny & Valentina Hernandez, Kentara Padron, and Bumpy Gonzalez and his lady, as we ended the night almost swimming in food, Coronas, and Captain Morgan rum!

The next night found us at the Mexico Lindo Restaurant & Cantina in downtown San Jose where the hip Brown elite in lowriders and on Harleys fell out for a birthday-dinner party in honor of Kelly Galvan. With Kelly performing on stage with her husband Art, she was joined by couple of guest artists which included singer Johnny Hernandez, who gave up a live, nostalgic version of "Las Nubes" that filled the dance floor in less than 10 seconds!

Nobody had more fun than Kelly. Surrounded by friends and family, singing & dancing to her heart's content, with more than ample servings of food & drink on the tables. It was a most marvelous birthday party indeed! Happy Birthday, Kelly! May you have many more!

And a big thanks to Tammy Renteria and all the wonderful friends that put this one together, and making us feel so welcome so far from home!

Meantime, the action sizzled in Los, as Friday saw the SATISFACTION Band at the Guest House, The COMPANY Band at Don Cuco's, and a special dinner was hosted by Steven & Janie Chavez at Paul's Kitchen in Monterey Park in honor of Thee Dallas Home~Girl, Ms. Annette Alvarez of <a href="http://www.CaliMusica.com">CaliMusica.com</a>, that included singer Mike Jimenez, Chico Manqueros, and Lowrider Japan's Shin Miyata. The LatinoLA road dogs report EVERY venue filled!

The Whittier Radisson Hotel celebrated its grand opening of a new club on the premises with College Grad night, followed by SUAVE and DOWN WITH 3 in concert. Man! The joint was jumpin', Gente were bumpin', and the musica was pumpin'!!! For more info on future sizzling parties at the Radisson at www.JEGRP.com. By all accounts, THIS was the place to be if you didn't want to sweat a long drive, crowded parking, long lines, big crowds, and being outdoors with the possibility of rain.

..but if that didn't phase you, then 2 days at the Greek Theater in the L.A. hills is where the annual LATIN LEGENDS concert went down, with THEE MIDNITERS, WAR, TIERRA, MALO, and EL CHICANO entertained sold out crowds on both nights. As expected, the music was tight & well polished, as Chicano music lovers came from all parts of the country for this annual Chicano music pilgrimage. Rumors have LatinoLA's Al Carlos Hernandez, and East L.A. Revue Radio's Steven Chavez & Art "Mr. O.G." Rocha boogying their booties off in the stands with their ladies, with Annette "Dallas Home~Girl" partying backstage with all the artists and their ladies. (Lucky girl!)

Later on that night, it was on at Steve's BBQ & Blues Restaurant in uptown Whittier as the BLUES GYPSIES came to town and spent the night partying & enjoying some of the best Chicano Bar-B-Que on the west coast. For more info: (562) 789-0200, and tell 'em you heard it from LatinoLA!

PEPE MARQUEZ & Co. wowed them on international waters as he performed at a private function on a private yacht that had the Gente rockin' & rollin' on both sides of the international border. The "Soul Man de Santa Barbara" and his new band continue to rock da house at most functions, as does his home~boy, the incomparable ANTHONY PRIETO. Both these gentlemen bring their talented voices and lend their talent, as they come to the Land of 1000 Dances on June 21st, at San Fernando's famed Mission-Brand Park, where they join FRANKIE FIRME, the PACHUCO and PREMIER Car Clubs for a March of Dimes fundraiser.

Music, food, entertainment, refreshments, and some of the finest cars on the planet will all be there for a good cause. For more info:(818) 599-2719, or go to: <a href="http://www.pachucocarclub.com">www.pachucocarclub.com</a>. Join us, everybody!!

The COMPANY Band's new CD " CO-2" is out! Watch for it's exclusive debut on East L.A. Revue Radio, where only the best Chicano music is heard, coast to coast, and around the World, 24 hours a day, rain or shine, on <a href="http://www.eastLArevue.com">www.eastLArevue.com</a>.

Louie Parra & The MAD LATINS Band are getting closer to recording their long awaited CD, that sizzles with old school charm! Stay tuned for more upcoming info.

Hope you're digging our new look here on LatinoLA, and don't forget, you can list your event here <a href="http://www.latinola.com/submitevent.php">FOR FREE</a> , reaching more Latinos in Aztlan than anywhere else on the planet!...now THAT'S a Brown thing, baby!!

Orale! Ay te watcho!...from the Land of 1000 Dances !

Frankie Firme

About Frankie Firme ~ Contributing Editor:
Frankie Firme is the Al Capone of the microphone & the Hitman of west Coast Chicano Soul on <a href="http://www.eastLArevue.com">www.eastLArevue.com</a>
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