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Concert Reviews

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

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Put on your Zoot Suits and black and white wing tipped shoes.  Big Bad Voodoo Daddy is in town. On Saturday, Aug. 13th, this little group with a big band sound graced the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. Love that Voodoo they do so well.  Our very own Grammy award winning big band, The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, accompanied them in a concert that paid tribute to the late Cab Calloway.

The evening was beautiful, the temperature was tolerable, and the music was hoppin’.  The outdoor arena was the perfect spot to host one of the greatest swing revival bands of our time.  Before Big Bad Voodoo Daddy started to play, the orchestra warmed us up with classics like “Jump, Jive n’ Wail”, “I’m Getting’ Sentimental Over You” and of course “In the Mood”.  Under the casual and fun direction of Michael Krajewski, we were moving and shaking even before the main  attraction.  In fact, swing dancers from the local universities were invited to get the party started with dancing in the aisles.  During the symphony’s rendition of “Sing, Sing, Sing”, there was a flash mob affect and 100 couples were up on their feet.

How Big Can You Get is Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s 8th and latest CD and also their first cover album. The cast of characters in BBVD has been intact for over 18 years. Scotty Morris, the ring-leader of this dapper ensemble, discovered Cab Calloway when he was five during the old Betty Boop shorts on T.V.  Calloway’s music was the sound track.  His fascination with the music began back then and he joked, “I also discovered I was a boy.”   There is nothing like a musical association to a childhood fantasy.

The band put together Calloway’s most iconic songs like “The Jumpin’ Jive”, “Reefer Man” and “Minnie The Moocher”.  Can I have a “Hi De, Hi De, Hi De Hi!”  They took the old songs and rearranged them with their own refreshing flare.  The tunes were recognizable but different enough to bring them into the 21st century.

[pro-player width=’530′ height=’353′ type=’video’]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=z5OpyFCBgWc[/pro-player]

Morris said, “That’s beautiful!” when he got the entire audience to sing, making us feel like we were part of the action.

The concert included some of their own great dancing numbers like “5, 10, 15 times I Love You” where Shumaker took the  bass for a jog around the block.  They played “Jumpin’ Jack”, their first song ever, and “The Kid” dazzled us with a sexy trumpet solo.   BBVD sent us on our way with “Time To Go, Daddio”.

I truly had a wonderful time and it was fun for everyone.   Next time I will seriously consider bringing my girls, Lady “H” and the Viking Princess.  It was my first visit to the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater and the venue couldn’t have been better.  It matched the grandness of the music and I was able to lose myself in it like a speck of dust floating in a world of high energy jivey noise.

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Concert Reviews

Jonah Parzen-Johnson at Lilypad

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Jonah Parzen-Johnson has an innate ability to make the baritone sax sound like bagpipes, and maybe that’s why I cried.

Mostly I cried because Jonah tells radiant stories with his saxophone and analog synth, working the brass and pedals to recreate the framework which surrounds his album Remember When Things Were Better Tomorrow: Parzen-Johnson wanted to make “something of myself that’s for everybody else.”

Jonah opened his set with “Stay There, I’ll Come to You,” showcasing the harmony between synth and sax right off the bat. With haunting lilts, the two combined into a ribbon of melody, pulsating inside the ear as well as the heart. Much like the song’s title, Jonah was the one approaching the audience as an experimental troubadour of tête-à-tête.

The back stories and thoughts behind each song tied in so well with the raw, almost throaty sax, developing such strong, emotional resonance with the musical layers. The skeleton shook.

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Concert Reviews

Speedy Ortiz “riiiiise above and gliiiiiide away” at The Sinclair

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The Sinclair was a packed house Wednesday night for the Speedy Ortiz CD release party; as a hometown gig for the Northampton, MA-based band, kinetic warmth buzzed through friends and fans alike as Sadie Dupuis and crew played their freshly-release Foil Deer track-by-track.

What’s a party without some guests, though? That’s where Krill and Mitski come in.

Krill kicked off the night with some tracks from A Distant Fist Unclenching, other goods from Lucky Leaves. Lead singer/bassist Jonah Furman brought to mind early (read: good) Billy Corgan, which I’m not sure he will appreciate. But I think he’ll appreciate this: I couldn’t stop laughing because then I kept thinking about Marilyn Manson telling Billy Corgan that he looked like Charlie Brown.

Opening with “Theme from Krill,” the Boston trio has a knack for rhythm and melody that burrows into your brain. The dreamy bleakness of “Purity of Heart.”  The discordant garage rock and hiccupping guitar and warbly Scooter-ness of “Foot.” Krill’s sound is a good, comfy noise that keeps you wiggling and all that good stuff. Be sure to catch the band at Boston Calling.

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Concert Reviews

Years & Years at Royale Boston

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During winter storm Juno, UK electro pop group Years & Years were forced to cancel the first show of their two-night stint in New York City back in January. After the snow finally melted, they made the rounds again this past March, playing several shows in California, South by Southwest before finally landing in Boston.

Due to popular demand, the show was moved from The Sinclair to the Royale in downtown’s Theater District.

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