A week on the scene
Build me up, Buttercup
"We're used to such large stages," joked Buttercup singer/guitarist Erik Sanden about halfway through the band's March 16 showcase at SXSW. Set up under a white tent next to the Co-Op Bar, Buttercup made the most of its cramped surroundings.
Beyond the ardent fans who stood in front of the stage and sang along, the band also converted some Sixth Street foot traffic, with a sizable audience watching from the sidewalk. The quartet played sitting down for much of the set, but Sanden left his chair for a spirited take on the title song of Buttercup's new Sick Yellow Flower CD, which he introduced by asking stalker victims in the crowd to rate the experience. Buttercup also provided SXSW with what was surely its finest ukulele jam, with guitarist Joe Reyes backing Sanden on the song "Johnny Appleseed."
Eduardo "Lalo" Guerrero, the acclaimed "father of Chicano music," passed away Thursday, March 17, of prostate cancer. Over his 88 years, Guerrero wrote, recorded and performed several hundred tunes, from the playful to the serious, that became emblematic of the Chicano experience. His WWII-era boogie-woogie and swing songs formed the sonic backdrop for the musical Zoot Suit, and as "Papa Lalo" he joined Los Lobos on the Grammy nominated bilingual children's album Papa's Dream.
For the second consecutive year, San Antonio's all-mujer Mariachi Las Alteñas took first place at the Go Tejano Mariachi Invitational in Houston. You'll have the opportunity to congratulate them in person when they perform at the Cadillac Bar on April 14 as part of a triple bill benefiting the newly established "Los Altos Institute of Mexican Arts."
When Ramón Ayala y Sus Bravos del Norte visit Ritmo Latino on Friday, March 25, expect a multigenerational mix of enthusiasts who have followed the legendary accordionist's 40-year career from its early days and novices tuning in to the norteño heavyweight's latest singles.
In the 1960s, while living along the Tex-Mex border, a teenage Ayala joined with the late Cornelio Reyna and formed Los Relámpagos del Norte. When the duo split, Ayala branched out with Los Bravos and songs such as "La Rama del Mesquite" and "Puño de Tierra" have become genre classics. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but there's nothing like seeing the original at work.