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Review: The Mavericks at Granada Theater

Posted 6:23pm on Sunday, Jul. 20, 2014

At its best, a concert is like a sustained narcotic drip — euphoric, satisfying and deeply addictive.

How else to explain why I found myself in a sold-out Granada Theater Saturday, again watching the Mavericks just three months after I last saw them, headlining the final night of the Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival?

There’s no other way around it: I’m hooked.

Closing out this leg of their acclaimed “25 Live” tour (the band will return to the road Aug. 6), the Mavericks were, thankfully, able to play a longer set than the abbreviated one in Fort Worth, and despite being at the end of relentless touring, summoned the last scraps of their strength to deliver a two hour-plus performance packed with one high after another.

Led, as always, by the rakishly charming Raul Malo and his hypnotic baritone, the Mavericks, the core quintet again augmented with horns and accordion, tore through much of last year’s triumphant comeback In Time, sprinkling the set list with a few classics ( Dance the Night Away had the capacity crowd doing just that) and a handful of smart covers ( Waltz Across Texas; La Bamba and an absolutely scorching Guantanamera spilling into a few bars of Twist and Shout).

Like some kind of exotic drug, the Mavericks’ music isn’t easily described.

There’s country, of course, but also soul, rockabilly, jazz, blues and probably a half dozen other genres embedded within the chords and melodies.

It’s a heady, potent thing, capable of inspiring dancing with abandon, lusty sing-alongs (as Dance in the Moonlight wound down, the audience nearly drowned out the band singing back a wordless refrain) and a general, blissful sensation.

Such feelings aren’t exclusive to those gathered before the stage; the men performing on it were clearly in the grip of good humor as well.

Malo could hardly keep the grin from his face, pianist Jerry Dale McFadden shimmied as he worked the keys, and guitarist Eddie Perez’s frequently dissolved into a blizzard of hair, his locks thrashing as his fingers did likewise on the neck of his electric guitar — his sizzling solo at the conclusion of Back in Your Arms Again was but one of the night’s many highlights.

Sustained ecstasy, a depressingly rare commodity in modern concert-going, and a feeling — a need, really — so acute that the hunger for it is intense: this is what the Mavericks have wrought.

Any given Mavericks concert can’t last forever, of course, however much the audience might desire it.

But like any good addict, I think I can hang on until the next one.

Preston Jones, 817-390-7713 Twitter: @prestonjones

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