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Los Straitjackets In Concert

Los Straitjackets

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Album Review

The surf-garage-retro cool masked men have always been as much about visuals as music so this somewhat belated DVD is an essential entry into their catalog. Recorded at San Francisco's Great American Music Hall in 2005 but not released until 2008, the 21-track set is an accurate, frills-free document of a typical Los Straitjackets show. No guest stars, no fancy lighting or sets, just the Converse sneaker clad foursome with matching dark outfits and sparkly guitars tearing through about an hour's worth of catalog highlights in front of an appreciative but not terribly exuberant audience. The stripped down environment is mirrored by a somewhat grainy texture to the video that actually accentuates the performance, focusing on the music (remixed into clean surround sound) and Los Straitjackets' simple yet effective coordinated stage moves. The lackluster quality may not be what you'd use to show off your new hi-def television, but it's effective for the band's rootsy music. Since there aren't any vocals except for brief between song introductions (in Spanish), the synchronized primitive crouches, guitar motions, and footwork are low-key yet charming, humorous, and subtly enhance the foursome's already bizarre appearance. A few obvious ("Telstar") and not so obvious "("My Heart Will Go On," the Titanic theme best known by Celine Dion's version, Louis Prima's swinging big band standard "Sing, Sing, Sing") covers pepper the set which nonetheless is dominated by guitarists Danny Amis' and Eddie Angel's originals. Each complements the other by weaving solos and trading licks with effortless proficiency clearly honed through hundreds of performances just like this. The camera work is clean and effective with close-ups on the fret board when called for and enough cuts to keep your attention, but nothing distracting. Fans will naturally want a souvenir of the show and newcomers can get a taste of how Los Straitjackets use their masks and dynamic visual stage presence to deliver their throbbing music in concert and still seem gimmick free.

Biography

Formed: 1988 in Nashville, TN

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Mixing the familiar sounds of Dick Dale, Duane Eddy, and the Ventures, Los Straitjackets create their own version of energetic surf guitar twang complete with Mexican wrestling masks. Los Straitjackets began in the summer of 1988. Eddie Angel (guitar), L.J. "Jimmy" Lester (drums), and Danny Amis (guitar) formed an instrumental trio called the Straitjackets, which played local Nashville shows throughout the summer. After a six-year hiatus, the Straitjackets reunited, added E. Scott Esbeck on bass,...
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Los Straitjackets In Concert, Los Straitjackets
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