|The Blazers, making themselves a home in San Antone.|
BLAZER OF GLORY
San Antonio music fans have long considered East Los Angeles rockers The Blazers a kind of adopted local band, and last week only confirmed the close bond they've developed with this city over the years.
On Sunday, September 7, Casbeers opened its doors to host a short-notice benefit for Blazers singer/guitarist Manny Gonzales, a diabetic who suffered a debilitating leg infection during the band's recent swing through the midwest. After being hospitalized in Cleveland, Gonzales flew down to San Antonio to stay with friends.
The rest of the Blazers eventually joined him here, and at the end of Labor Day weekend, they got together with the owners of Casbeers to plan a show which would help the group meet their expenses and recoup some of the money lost when the tour was truncated.
At the September 7 gig, Gonzales rested his leg by sitting in a chair, but looked positively giddy to be back onstage. Freely mocking his own infirmity, Gonzales bemoaned his long, unpleasant plane flight to SA last month, before joking, "The peanuts were good, though."
Belying his fragile condition, Gonzales uncorked one explosive, bluesy guitar solo after another, and his bandmates - including Gonzales' old high-school friend Ruben Guaderrama - reminded everyone in attendance that they're one of the greatest bar bands on the planet. After a particularly spirited cumbia workout halfway through the first set, Gonzales let out a joyous whoop and suggested that he'd found better music through chemistry. "Man, those pain pills must be kicking in," he said.
BACK TO THE ARMADILLO
Last year's first Austin City Limits Music Festival was a huge success - if a bit of a logistical headache - and this year's ACL blowout (September 19-21) looks even more promising. Among the dozens of acts on multiple stages will be R.E.M., Al Green, Dwight Yoakam, Ween, Robert Randolph, Ben Kweller, the Polyphonic Spree, and Ed Harcourt. Three-day tickets are $75 and one-day passes are going for $30. For more info about advance purchases, contact Front Gate Tickets at (512) 389-0315. •