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Thursday August 21, 2014
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Rock 'n' roll traditions

 

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extend classic traditions in inventive ways. Los Straitjackets came to the Ark once before, with Big Sandy alone as vocalist, and they rocked the club a little harder than it's used to being rocked. But the level of musicianship was very high, and it was clear that rock now counts as traditional music that can be learned inside out and renewed.

Los Straitjackets are a band to experience. Unless they're collaborating with a vocalist, they play instrumentals exclusively. They notoriously appear on stage in Mexican lucha libre wrestling masks, and even toss out short Spanish phrases during the show, but they're not Mexican, they're based in Nashville, and the Mexican garage rock of 1960s Los Angeles is just a small part of their stylistic palette. Mostly the trio plays amped-up Ventures-type instrumentals, rockabilly, and surf music, crunched together with a bit of punk and a lot of speed. They're ferociously fun, and guitarists turn out for their shows because they know they're going to learn something.

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Top of the Lamp, Ann Arbor's locally owned lighting specialty store.