Los Super Seven – Bowery Ballroom (New York City, NY)
As Cesar Rosas counted off — “Uno, dos, one, two, tres, cuatro!” — and Los Super Seven (well, Los Super Eleven at that point) launched into its frenetic encore of “Wooly Bully”, it was enough to make even the most cynical New Yorker smile. It should be illegal to have that much talent on one stage.
One of the most super of supergroups, Los Super Seven is a collection of musicians paying tribute to Mexican music. As if the seven core members — Rosas, David Hidalgo, Freddy Fender, Joe Ely, Rick Trevino, Ruben Ramos, and Joel Guzman (filling in for Flaco Jimenez) — weren’t super enough, the band added Steve Berlin, Max Baca, Sarah Fox and Israel “Speedy” Villanueva for the show, one of only three shows the band played to promote its self-titled RCA album that came out in mid-September.
In the liner notes for the CD, author John Sayles writes, “Los Super Seven is a place…[to] hear great storytellers play songs from the heart.” The all-star band fulfilled that mission this night. Whether it was Ramos caressing each note on “La Madrugada” and “La Morena” or Rosas and Trevino dueting on “Margarita”, each song was sung with heartfelt intensity. The instrumental work of Hidalgo, who played drums, fiddle, guitar and requinto (a smaller guitar that produces a more staccato sound), and Guzman, who proved himself a worthy replacement for Jimenez on the accordion, fueled each song and destroyed any existing language barriers.
In a concert of many peaks, perhaps the highest was reached with the mid-show arrival of Ely and Fender. Ely tore through “Gallo Del Cielo”, upping the intensity with each verse, and Fender’s version of the hypnotic “Un Lunes Por La Manana” featured a playful instrumental duel between Hidalgo’s requinto and Guzman’s accordion, with Ramos and Ely gleefully clapping along in the wings.
By the time the band closed with the rocking lilt of “El Canoero”, the crowd finally began to let go, which, of course, meant lots of bad dancing. The awkward shuffling continued during the encores, with Fender singing his hits “Before The Next Teardrop Falls” and “Wasted Days And Wasted Nights” before the final jams on “Wooly Bully” and Ely’s “Fingernails”.
Each band member left the stage sporting a wide smile, much as they did after every song this night. One can only hope a Los Super Seven “Fiesta Grande” tour might be on the horizon.