Joe "King" Carrasco y Las Coronas | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Joe "King" Carrasco y Las Coronas 

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Clown prince turned clown revolutionary, crossover geek turned crossover dream, Tex-Mex dance fiend Joe "King" Carrasco has come a long, long way. Earlier this decade, the self-anointed king of "nuevo wavo" would take the stage in mucho-stupido cape and crown and play fun, forgettable Farfisa-driven party riffs. You'd go home, feel a sudden craving to hear ? and the Mysterians' "96 Tears," and forget old Joe ever existed. Until recently. Although Carrasco's growing concern with political struggles in Central America hasn't tarnished his sense of humor, it has strengthened his musical resolve. Songs such as "Who Buy the Guns That Kill the Nuns" and "Hey Gringo 'No Pasaran'" deliver political rock without the whining pomposity and comic rock without the whoopee-cushion banality. Carrasco's best album, the current Bandido Rock, assembles the band of his life, drawing crucial support from hotshot accordionist Marcelo Guana and former Mysterians guitarist Bobby Balderama. These guys may never put Ponty Bone and Flaco Jimenez out of business, but they do bring border radio traditions to an 80s dance floor with conviction and flair. To paraphrase Emma Goldman, if they can't dance, they don't want to be part of your revolution. Tonight, FitzGerald's, 6615 Roosevelt, Berwyn; 788-2118. Saturday, Cubby Bear, 1059 W. Addison; 327-1662.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Bruce Smith.

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