Los Lobos’ first Cinco De Mayo Festival, coming to the Greek Theater on Saturday, is a family affair in almost every respect.
It’s also a homecoming: The celebrated East L.A. band is returning to the venue where it has performed memorable shows since the 1980s.
“We’ve always had a pretty special relationship with the Greek,” says saxophonist Steve Berlin. “They were very kind to us over the years, and we’ve had some pretty special nights there.”
The fiesta begins at 6 p.m. with sets on the Greek plaza. Acts will include the widely praised East Side band La Santa Cecilia; the 44s, a rock unit whose lineup includes local guitarist Kid Ramos and drummer Jason Lozano, son of Lobos bassist Conrad Lozano; and folk-punkers Ollin. The latter group is the house band for “Evangeline, the Queen of Make-Believe,” a multimedia show based on the Lobos’ songs that debuts May 12 at the Bootleg Theater.
The main stage guests include L.A. punk legends X, for whom the Lobos opened countless Hollywood shows. “I don’t think we’d exist, frankly, if it weren’t for X and the Blasters,” says Berlin.
Joining Los Lobos during their acoustic set will be Texas singer-songwriter Alejandro Escovedo, whose ’80s band the True Believers shared tours with Los Lobos (“Alejandro’s just part of the family,” Berlin says), and Americana queen Neko Case, a good friend and Lobos fan.
Wrapping up the main-stage bill is Mariachi El Bronx, a punk-mariachi fusion that includes Vincent Hidalgo, son of Lobos guitarist David Hidalgo, on bajo sexto.
“We’re hoping there’ll be a couple more surprises,” Berlin says.