LYNN — Had your fill of chestnuts roasting on an open fire and 12 pipers piping? Has the ubiquitous blizzard of Christmas carols got you hitting the egg nog harder and earlier this season? You’d be much more jolly if you were listening to The Mavericks’ take on holiday music.
The Miami-based quartet is touring behind its new album, “Hey! Merry Christmas!”, and Sunday night at Lynn Auditorium its fans, among the most devoted in popular music, danced the night away to two fun-packed sets of the band’s rollicking mix of rockabilly, Latino, folk, swing, country, punk, blues and Cuban jazz. First up were 12 mostly original holiday tunes; after a short intermission fans got the full Mavericks experience, a raucous blast of uptempo “hits.”
Frontman Raul Malo cautioned fans that this Christmas show was for people who aren’t all wrapped up in the holidays. “If you came wanting cute little stories told by elves, none of that (expletive) is going to happen,” he said to loud cheers.
Instead, fans got spirited versions of Darlene Love’s “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” and Elvis’ “Blue Christmas.” Of the originals, the double-entendre-filled “Santa Wants to Take You For a Ride” was both naughty and nice. The solid, horn-driven blues of “A Not So Merry Christmas” was a standout, with Malo’s usual Orbison-smooth baritone gruffed up a bit and Jerry Dale McFadden’s piano flourishes adding sugar and spice. The heartfelt ballad “Christmas For Me (Is You)” featured Malo’s vocals at their loveliest. “Hey! Merry Christmas!” was a Chuck Berry-style rocker,
From the first notes of the first Christmas song, many women and a few men, eager to dance, congregated against the walls on both sides of the auditorium. A conga line, led by a festively attired lady, snaked through the front rows. The holiday songs were fun, but the post-intermission set of the band’s most-popular songs was incendiary.
Few bands can equal The Mavericks for live performance. Lead guitarist Eddie Perez was on fire all night, adding tasty, tasteful solos to every tune. Paul Deakin’s drumming anchored the band’s ever-changing beats.
The core four were augmented by three horns, bass and accordion. “I Wanna Love You All Night Long” was a firestarter. With Malo belting out the words and heavenly trumpets blaring, the near-capacity crowd, which included many young adults, stood and danced, clapped, sang and behaved like untamed animals. They didn’t sit down the rest of the night. It was wild. It was rowdy. It was divine.
The crowd’s movin’ and groovin’ continued during breakneck run-throughs of “Back in Your Arms Again” and, especially, “As Long As There’s Loving Tonight” and “All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down,” which gave all nine musicians on stage the chance to show off. Couples slow-danced and kissed during the love ballads, which is where Malo’s wondrous voice truly shines.
The evening ended with the catchy “Christmas Time Is (Coming ‘Round Again),” one final wish for a happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.