El Vez | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

El Vez 

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El Vez's third appearance in Chicago--on the anniversary of his namesake's death--is his first under proper conditions; at both of his previous dates he played with pickup musicians or taped accompaniment. This time Chicagoans will experience El Vez the way he's meant to be, with his band, the Memphis Mariachis, his backup singers, the Elvettes, and his preferred opening act, a jokey combo from Richmond, Virginia, called the Useless Playboys, who do a sort of twisted 40s swing. El Vez is one Robert Lopez, a very smart onetime curator from LA (he's now El Vez full time) whose shtick is a Latino take on dumb old Elvis, done with far more brio and brains than has yet been envisioned in the benighted arm of popular entertainment he inhabits. Since his last show here, more than two years ago, he's released two albums: on both How Great Thou Art and Graciasland he combines one part Elvis with one part bilingual and musical puns, then adds dollops of everything from Hendrix to the Clash. His shows are all that and more, funnier and more rocking than they have any right to be. Highly recommended. Tuesday, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 525-6620.


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