Del Castillo

House of Blues

August 15, 2004

Fingers moved across guitar strings faster in flurries. Gypsy Jazz guitarist Django Rheinhardt was one of the best and quickest players ever. He would have been proud of the del Castillo brothers Sunday night at the House of Blues. Their blistering finger-work was refreshing, and it was life-affirming to hear authentic acoustic flamenco guitar.

Rick and Mark anchored nuevo flamenco/Latin band Del Castillo with danceable and melodic rhythms. The Austin sextet's onstage presence and energy came from vocalist Alex Ruiz. The twirling man motioned to the heavens like a Chicano Stevie Nicks. Ruiz was joined onstage by drummer Mike Zeoli, bassist Albert Besteiro, and percussionist Rick Holeman.

Del Castillo only played five songs, but each number was tight and enjoyable. It was great to hear a fully-formed high-energy Latin band sound. Cowbells, blocks, splash cymbals, and timbales. It was a surgical attack on the senses. Surgical because Besteiro played an immovable groove that allowed for the percussion and other superfluous sounds to create color.

The band possessed a definite Latin sound, but they also did a good job of dipping into straightforward poppy Rock every once and a while. Old school Santana came to mind.

Rick and Mark's classic guitar stylings would be a great soundtrack to images of a stucco-covered, old-world Mexico.

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