El Vez

It’s never quite Christmas without a run-in with El Vez, the self-billed “Mexican Elvis.” All wry gimmicks and sly puns, the bilingual troubadour has been repurposing classic music for his cartoonish persona since the ’90s. His mutant covers work as more than novelties, though, perhaps because they’re bolstered with such affection. In El Vez’s hands, “Suspicious Minds” becomes an immigration anthem set at the Mexican border on Christmas Eve, while “Woolly Bully” and T. Rex’s “20th Century Boy” are downright reignited. If his records – mainly released on Sympathy For The Record Industry and more recently his own Graciasland imprint – are good cheeky fun, his live show is a sweaty romp that’s part rockabilly revelry and part standup comedy. Oh, and he’s got his own backup singers in the Elvettes. This being the holidays, expect such treasures as “Santa Claus Is Sometimes Brown,” “Brown Christmas,” and of course, “Feliz Navidad.” With Los Straightjackets and King Of Hawaii. DOUG WALLEN

Mon., Dec. 14, 8 p.m., 2009

 
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