An Enchanted Night by the Sea

Thee Midniters and Rick's Jamnesia make it happen in San Pedro

By Frankie Firme, Contributing Editor
Published on LatinoLA: July 22, 2014

An Enchanted Night by the Sea

Orale, Mi Gente !

Summer's in full swing here in the Land of 1000 Dances, and the music is flowing ever so sweet for that good looking and hip crowd of 45 and over adults who never age as long as the music plays and there's room to dance.

Recently, word has begun to spread to my corner of the World that the old wedding chapel at San Pedro's world-famous Ports O' Call Village pier in San Pedro had been recently converted to a first class restaurant and banquet hall now known as the Marina Seafood Restaurant, where Christina Marisol of SoCal Events is now putting on killer shows & dances at the water's edge, presenting such hot acts as Louie Parra & Thee Mad Latins and The Dew Drops, with other great shows coming up.

On this particular Saturday evening, my Lady and I joined about 10,000 people enjoying the World's best beautiful weather, seafood, drinks and shopping along L.A.'s best known harbor, for a hot show featuring Rick's Jamnesia (pictured) & Thee Midniters.

We ran across Thee Midniter's Jimmy Espinosa & Robert Zapata of Cannibal & The Headhunters chillin' in the sunshine de Aztlan just like us.

"Show's in a couple hours...you going?"Jimmy asks..."Of course!" we respond, as he & Robert flash us show business smiles in appreciation. "Thanks, man. See you inside!" they both respond.

After a little tourist action & shopping (weather was the bomb! What can I say?), we stroll over to the Marina Seafood Restaurant & Banquet Hall as the sun began to set, to check into L.A.'s latest party and dance venue for the big kids in Aztlan.

The place is well decorated in elegance and good taste, without being uppity or snooty. The staff & ambiance, along with the mild sea breezes and hint of aromas of seasoned seafood cooking, are both welcoming & inviting.

The upstairs banquet/ballroom is roomy and tastefully decorated. The connecting balcony comfortably opens up to the harbor, with a fresh view of San Pedro Harbor, which lights up magically once the sun goes down.
Best seats in the house if you ask me!)

We're greeted by the lovely Christina Marisol herself, who make us feel ever so welcome, as she shows us our table on the balcony directly facing the stage & dance floor. Within minutes, we're enjoying drinks & dinner, the service being so refreshing.

...WoW! This is nice!

The show starts off with Master of Ceremonies & brother East L.A. Revue Radio DJ Chico Manqueros welcoming the crowd to San Pedro before introducing the opening act, RICK'S JAMNESIA.

Reminiscent of the butt-slapping dance Funk & R&B of the 70's & 80's, with a hint of Chicago, Earth,Wind & Fire, Rick James, Kool & The Gang, and Bar-Kays all rolled into one, RICK'S JAMNESIA impressed a lot of people and made a lot of new fans (including yours truly) with their hot & funky sounds.

You could see all the heads bobbing, shoulders movin', and feet tapping, until the urge to get out and tirar chancla became overwhelming, and the dance floor was full by the second song.

If that wasn't enough, once we were all sweaty from gettin' our boogie on, RICK'S JAMNESIA hit us all square in the chest by putting out some lively cumbias... before turning up the heat on us and broke out with them soul, memorable, slow dancing "grinders" ( i.e. Oldies to those of you youngsters under 45)

Man! We were all having such a good time partying & dancing that we almost forgot the time & the stars of the show as Rick's Jamnesia ended their set with one last hot number.

RICK'S JAMNESIAgonna remember these guys and hit their next show !

Chico Manqueros then came on stage and introduced THEE MIDNITERS to a loud & roaring ovation.

NowI gotta tell you, I been a Midniters fan since back in the day in East L.A. when they played at the Golden Gate Movie Theater and on the loading dock in the parking lot behind's Johnson's Market on Whittier Boulevard on weekend afternoons back in the 1960's, during the Beatles craze when they were affectionately known as the "Mexican Beatles", and these guys have always been up there in the league of Lalo Guerrero and Richie Valens as one of the vanguards of Chicano English language rock & roll and soul music. They helped set a standard, and opened a lot of doors for subsequent Latino music artists on the west coast.

And I don't mean any disrespect to original singers Benny Cevallos and Lil' Ray Jimenez, or subsequent popular Midniter singers like Benny Lopez, Lil' Willie G, Hank Castro, or Charlie Mu??oz, but today's offering of live Midniter music fronted by singer Greg Esparza is just as exciting & polished as the original guys.

After more than 50 years, original members Larry Rendon and Jimmy Espinosa belie their age, and prove what a fountain of youth music is, as they perform classic Midniter tunes that has developed 3 generations of fans flawlessly and with style.

This latest group, which includes legendary & original TIERRA horn men Bobby Navarette and Bobby Loya, along with drummer Robert Zapata of Cannibal & The Headhunters fame, master keyboardist Karl "The Doctor" Carrasco, along with bassist & band leader Jimmy Espinosa, took it to another level on this night, with the dance floor being packed all night long, and the memories flowed by the sea.

Greg Esparza was simply magnificent, the band sounded so tight, and the night ended on a perfect note as Greg hit us all in the heart with the immortal jam "That's All".

Christina Marisol & Titus Smith of SoCal Events are going to be bringing more great acts to Ports O' Call Village in San Pedro this summer, as the Marina Seafood Restaurant welcomes the Dew Drops on July 26th, and The TEMPTATIONS and Frankie Firme on September 13th.

"The more people know there's a new spot for live music and dancing in the Harbor, the more people will come out and enjoy the sunshine by the sea, and the better the party's gonna be!" Titus Smith told me after the show.

For more info: Christina Marisol on Facebook.

See you by the sea !

About Frankie Firme, Contributing Editor:
Frankie Firme is the Al Capone of the microphone and the Hitman of West Coast Chicano Soul
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