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Los Lobos shows Columbia how to La Bamba

The current line-up of Chicano-styled Los Lobos has been performing together since 1984. That’s 27 years. That’s a long, long time to stay together as a band — especially nowadays with how often bands seem to self-implode.

OK, so 27 years. That’s a lot of time to do notable stuff, right? Well, Los Lobos has definitely taken advantage of their time: they’ve toured with U2, Bob Dylan and Grateful Dead, performed at the White House, hit number one on Billboard (La Bamba) and lastly (and most importantly), come to Columbia’s Roots 'N Blues 'N BBQ Festival.

The Tex-Mex band played at the MO Lottery Stage, and pretty much made itself at home despite early technical difficulties.

“We’re still working on our show,” Cesar Rosas, one of the lead singers, said jokingly to the crowd.

Los Lobos is a little like a collection of that cool uncle everyone has; they’re rocking some hobo long-beard or wearing weird sunglasses or playing an accordion, but they somehow manage to make it all look cool. Of course it probably helps that they’re all jamming out and making music in front of an audience. Star-power does weird, magical things to the minds of audiences. I mean, how else could Sid have gotten Nancy?

Anyway, while the band’s Latin-leanings might seem to disqualify them from a blues festival, Los Lobos worked up a pretty sweaty case on why they were invited by way of some heavy-blues-groove jams. And just to cover their roots bases, they also had blue-grass original Sam Bush (who played early) jam with them for the majority of their show. Bush tore out four — count ‘em: four! — fiddle solos during the set. And if that wasn’t enough, for their La Bamba-fueled finale they called up Robert Lee, who wailed out some soloing for the crowd.

Safe to say, Los Lobos pretty much proved exactly why they’ve gotten to do all the crazy-great things over the years; they’re nice, they work well together and, most importantly, they’re great at making music (LA LA LA LA LA BAMBA).

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