Chill Billies

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Downtown SanTana continues to become more chingn—American Apparel just opened its second Orange County store there, while the exhibits at the Artists' Village impress monthly—but the area remains devoid of the city's Latino reality. That'll change this Saturday, when Smiths/Morrissey tribute band Sweet and Tender Hooligans play for gratis.

The Latino love for the seminal Mancunians is a topic rehashed by various hack journalists—this one included—over the years, but nowhere is it better simulated than with the Hooligans, four-fifths of which is Latino. But the group could sport sarapes and bandoliers, and no Latinos would revere them; what really sparks the Hooligans' worship amongst Latinos is the almost too-perfect re-creation of the Smiths sound—David Collett's lead guitar twinkles with the same pretty rancor as Johnny Marr's original licks, while Indie 103.1 morning guy Joe Escalante's quartz-watch bass would make Andy Rourke jealous. But the soul of the Hooligans is unquestionably Jos Maldonado. Onstage and in real life, Maldonado exudes Morrissey: the whipping of the mic chord, the self-deprecating humor and the affects of a masculine diva. He grooms the same fabulous pompadour that rises from Morrissey's forehead like a promontory, hosts the same sideburns that come to rest around the earlobes, projects the same falsetto that drips with confident pain. Watch this amazing simulacrum Saturday—and whether you're Latino, gabacho or "other," join Maldonado and amigos in shouting "Viva Morrissey!" afterward.

Sweet and Tender Hooligans play at Santa Ana Promenade, 201 Broadway, Santa Ana. Sat., 8 p.m. Free. All ages.

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