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La Mafia, accustomed to playing large venues over the decades, brings its popular Tejano sound to the more intimate Jackson Rancheria on Saturday for the Cinco de Mayo weekend.

Mel Shields: Rare chance to see Tejano greats La Mafia in small setting

Published: Friday, May. 3, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 22TICKET

Can La Mafia's concert Saturday night at Jackson Rancheria be considered an example of social progress?

You bet.

During the heyday of Nevada casino entertainment – long before Indian casinos arrived in California – the names of Latino entertainers rarely graced marquees.

A few popped up here and there – Sergio Mendes, Charo, the great Freddy Fender – but by and large a sizable community wasn't being represented or served.

As the country's population has grown more diverse, so have casino offerings, evidenced strongly by this Tejano band's appearance.

La Mafia is used to breaking boundaries, becoming one of the earliest Mexican American groups to perform giant concerts in Mexico, playing its rousing brand of popular music that's influenced by mariachi, corrido and even polka.

The group has also managed to compile a long list of major accomplishments – Grammy Awards for "Un Millon de Rosas" and "En Tus Manos," and Latin Grammys for "Para El Pueblo" and "Nuevamente"; 12 Tejano Music Awards, including a lifetime achievement honor; four No. 1 Billboard hits, and 13 top 10 Billboard hits.

The band came out of Houston in 1980 and over the decades has developed a reputation for stellar live performances.

Named one of the top 25 Latin artists of the past 25 years by Billboard, La Mafia can fill venues as large as the Houston Astrodome, which it has done three times. Given that, the relatively intimate setting of Jackson Rancheria offers a rare opportunity to get up close and personal.

The band is led by Oscar de la Rosa as lead vocalist and Armando Lichtenberg Jr. (who is also responsible for the high-quality production values of the shows) on keyboards and accordion. Both are founding members. They are joined by David de la Garza on keyboards and vocals, Tim Ruiz on bass, Joe Gonzales on drums and Victor Pacheco on guitar.

The price is right, too (7 p.m.; $40; jacksoncasino.com ).

Jackson Rancheria's RV Park is gearing up for the summer season. The resort is hardly alone in catering to a mobile clientele, but few parks can boast being in the Top 100 Good Sam Parks with a perfect 10/10/10 rating, receiving top scores in facility completeness, bathroom cleanliness and visual appeal.

The facility offers 100 hook-up spots. Amenities include free cable and Wi-Fi, a heated pool, two spas, horseshoe pits, volleyball courts, a walking path, a general store and (of course) 24-hour shuttle service to the casino.

Jackson's RV park also hosts special (and free) events for guests, such as three upcoming barbecues: a Memorial Day grill fest on May 25, an Independence Day feast on July 6, and a Labor Day cookout on Aug. 31.


CASINO GUIDE

Boomtown, Reno – Events Center: Dave Mason, May 26 (800) 648-3790.

Carson Valley Inn – Cabaret Lounge: Stew Stewart, today-Saturday; Dale Poune, Sunday-Wednesday; Steppen Stonz, Thursday-May 11. (775) 782-9711.

Eldorado, Reno – The 18th annual Great El Dorado BBQ, Brews and Blues Festival, June 21-22. Showroom: "Menopause the Musical," Tuesdays- Sundays, through July 14. (800) 648-5966.

Harrah's Lake Tahoe – South Shore Room: Sammy Hagar – Four Decades of Rock, today-Saturday; Super Diamond, May 11; Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, June 1. (800) 427-7247.

Harrah's Reno – Sammy's Showroom: The Four Tenors, Thursdays-Sundays, through May 28; Taylor Hicks, July 3-7. The Stage @ the Zone: Casey Frazier, today-Saturday; Steel Breeze, next Friday-May 11. (800) 427-7247.

Harveys, Lake Tahoe – Improv: Rocky LaPorte, today-Sunday; John Henton, Wednesday-May 12; Charles Fleisscher, May 15-19. (800) 427-8397.

Horizon, Lake Tahoe – Illusion Fusion starring Alex Ramon, Thursdays-Tuesdays. (775) 588-6211.

Silver Legacy, Reno – Spring Fever Revival Classic Car Show, May 31-June 1. Grand Exposition Hall: Tesla, Saturday; Creedence Clearwater Revisited, May 24; Amy Schumer, May 25; Scott Weiland, June 8. (800) 687-8733.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Mel Shields



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