Tonight, follow the river of people flowing from downtown to the base of Howelsen Hill. The crowd will start to build about 5:30 p.m., drawn in by the sad songs of Marty Lloyd, and hitting a critical mass two hours later when Los Lobos takes the stage.
Free concert series co-organizer Joe Kboudi said Los Lobos was one of the best bands organizers have been able to bring to Steamboat Springs since the series' inception.
"We've been trying to get them here for 10 years," Kboudi said. "They are one of the bands we always wanted to bring here. They play a mix of music that is so eclectic, I think it crosses the entire community."
Los Lobos is finally on the Howelsen Hill stage mostly because of the luck of the calendar. The band happened to be doing a tour of Colorado this summer.
"They are just a really wonderful band," Kboudi said. "They have a strong stage presence. They rock hard, but are not out of control."
Kboudi has seen them several times.
"I saw them within the year, and they were as strong as ever," he said.
Though Los Lobos has been -- and probably always will be -- defined by one soundtrack hit, "La Bamba," the band has been prolific for almost 30 years.
High school friends from East Los Angeles, Los Lobos constantly experimented with its sound, moving in and out of the punk scene in the 1980s, then twisting and deepening its sound in the '90s with the release of its album, "Kiko."
Now they are touring with a new album, "Good Morning Aztlan."
Aztlan is the mythical place of origin of the Aztec people, but in Chicano folklore, Aztlan often refers to the portion of Mexico taken over by the United States after the Mexican-American War.
"Good Morning Aztlan" brings the band full circle to their beginnings as a barrio band from East L.A. playing traditional Mexican music.
"This is a group that has always displayed a social consciousness, and this album is no exception," wrote MIX reviewer Blair Jackson. "Fans of their Mexican side will love 'Luz de Mi Vida,' which is a wonderful blend of Spanish and English; it sounds the way many Chicanos speak to each other -- beginning a sentence in English, finishing it in Spanish, and back and forth that way. 'The Big Ranch' moves easily from verses that sound like they came off a long-lost album by The Band, to a chorus dripping with heavy guitars."
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