Photos by Steven Sandick
The Mavericks are not just your typical band from Miami, Florida. They are a band who cannot be pigeonholed into a single genre of music, as their musical talents range from country, rock, blues, Tex-Mex, rockabilly and ballads, mostly wrapped with a Latin flavor. Raul Malo, a Miami native born of Cuban decent is the perfect frontman for this band. He has the voice of an angel and can also rock out with the best. Not to mention, Malo makes women SWOON, something I have never witnessed before, with the exception of the old Warner Brothers cartoon “Swooner Crooner,” where all the henhouse chickens fainted over the Sinatra-like rooster.
In 2014, the Mavericks performed their first ever show at the Space at Westbury. The venue placed rows of seats in the orchestra area, which I felt was a mistake. The Mavericks, with their Latin laced rhythms, can be considered a dance band, and the seats prevented folks from letting loose. On October 29th, the Mavericks played the Space for a second time, and this go around, the venue wisely took up the seats and let the concertgoers “Dance the Night Away.”
Original members Raul Malo & Paul Deakin have surrounded themselves with an incredible supporting cast of characters. Eddie Perez, lead guitar extraordinaire, flashes his axe like Zorro wields his sword. Then there’s Jerry Dale McFadden on keyboards. You might say he’s the comic relief of the band, dressed in a bright orange suit, sort of a cross between Spike Jones and Pee Wee Herman, dancing his way across the stage. Other members of the touring band include Michael Guerra on accordion, Max Abrams on sax, Matt Cappy on trumpet and Ed Friedland on bass. All add up to a one huge party. The set list was heavily stacked with songs from their past two albums, In Time and Mono, sprinkling in crowd favorites such as “Dance the Night Away,” “All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down” and “Oh What Thrill,” plus “I Said I Love You” and “Every Little Thing About You,” songs from Malo’s solo album, Today.
I have followed the Mavericks’ career since 1994, and there is always one question I ask myself as I walk into the concert venue: what cover songs will they do? Seriously, I have witnessed them cover Elvis (both Presley and Costello), Jones (both Tom and George), the Beatles, Credence, Bob Marley, Nilsson, Bobby Darin, Andy Williams, the list goes on and on. This night was no exception. Their covers ranged from a hauntingly beautiful rendition of Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon” to John Lennon’s “Give Peace A Chance” during which McFadden’s piano played a hint of Elton John’s “Honky Cat” in the background. Even as the Mavericks began their first of two sets of encores, Eddie Perez yelled, “You asked for it!” and they broke into the Four Tops’ “Reach Out (I’ll Be There),” which had the crowd singing the lyrics at the top of their lungs. Then, the unlikely cover of Dale & Grace’s 1963 country hit “I’m Leaving It Up To You,” at first had the crowd merely smiling, but by the chorus singing loud and clear. I must say, if you have never seen the Mavericks in concert, you are doing yourself a major disservice, because you’ll never have a better time at a live show.
– Steven Sandick