Written by James Downing
The cool thing about being involved with Concert Blast is getting the opportunity to see a lot of bands that I have never seen before. One of those opportunities happened in June. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy was playing in Nashville at the Wildhorse Saloon. I have listened to them on occasion but my son, Julian, is a huge fan. He has several of their cds and I hear him listening to them all the time. It was close to his birthday so when I got the chance to attend the show for a review I brought him along too.
The Wildhorse Saloon is my favorite place in Music City to see a concert. It is a three level venue with a capacity of 1400. You can get an up close and personal concert experience in this room. When we got to the show most of the seats around the “dance floor” were full but the floor was bare. That would change by the time Big Bad Voodoo Daddy hit the stage.
The Wildhorse usually features local talent from Nashville to open most of the shows at the venue. The opening band for this night was Hillbilly Casino. A tight little 4 piece rockabilly band that got the crowd moving and grooving. Where as most opening bands play for about 30 minutes, Hillbilly Casino was on stage for a full hour. They were well accepted by the crowd and they were really getting into the vibe they received from everyone.
As it got closier to 9pm I noticed that a lot of people were starting to gather on the open floor area of the Wildhorse. I knew that my son would want to be down front for Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and I told him if he wanted to get a good spot, now was the time. I love to see him show the same enthusiasm for music and going to concerts as I did back when I was his age. As the old saying goes “Like father, Like son.”
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, in case you don’t know, play a brand of comtempary swing music and their set features a lot of the old swing classics. The band consists of 9 members. Scotty Morris on vocals, Kurt Sodergren on drums, Dirk Shumaker on upright bass, Andy Rowley on sax, Glen Marhevka on trumpet, Karl Hunter on sax, Joshua Levy on keyboards, Tony Bonsera on trumpet and Alex Henderson on trombone. Each one of these guys are amazing musicians and each and every song from the set list proves it.
The house lights dimmed and the band members took their places on stage. Once everyone was ready, they broke into their opening unmber, “Come On With The Come On.” This was one of the songs that I have heard my son play and I have to say it sounded much better live with the full sound of the band in a concert hall. The next song was “Calloway Boogie” followed by “Let It Roll.” I found it fun watching Scotty sing and play the part of a part time musical conductor. This guy has a great voice and it was in top form at the Wildhorse.
After “Let It Roll” Scotty talked a little about the music of Cab Calaway and how their latest record “How Big Can You Get” is a tribute to this “Swing King.” The next three songs, “Mr Pinstripe Suit“, “Hey Now, Hey Now” and “Minne The Moocher” were from this album. I really loved hearing the crowd during the “Hi Dee Hi Dee Hi Dee Ho” ” parts of “Minnie The Moocher” and the trumpt and trombone parts in “Hey Now, Hey Now.”
By this time the once bare dance floor was totally full. People were dancing, jiving and having a great time. Scotty said that the band had been together for 19 years and that they still had all of the oringial members. That is something you don’t see much in music these days. He also added that at the end of the tour they were headed back into the studio to begin work on their 9th album.
The set continued with “Devils Dance“ followed by another Calloway song “Reefer Man.” One of my favorite songs of the night was the next offering, “5-10-15 Times.” Now it was time for the band introductions by Scotty and each member received a great round of applause from the crowd. After the introductions, the band broke into “Jumpin’ Jive.” This was another song that got the crowd dancing on the floor. They then did the last Cab Calloway song of the night with “The Old Man Of The Mountian.” I was hoping they would do this song because I remember hearing this in one of the old Betty Boop cartoons as a kid and is one of my favorite songs of Cab Calloway.
The up tempo “Zig Zaggity Woop Woop” was next and featured solos by the horn section and drummer. “You And Me And The Bottle Makes Three” was the next song followed by another one that I was really looking forward to hearing live. That song was “I Wanna Be Just Like You.” It was featured in the Disney film “The Jungle Book” which was one of my favorite movies as a kid in the 1960′s.
Scotty told the crowd that it was time to “Go Daddy-O” and they broke into the song of the same name. This was the final song of the set but the cheering crowd was not about to let the band leave yet. They returned to the stage and gave the house what they wanted, two more songs. The first song was called “Why Me.” The last song of the night was “So Long, Farewell, Goodbye” which they end each concert with.
Although this isn’t the type of music that I usually listen to, I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. The band was tight, the vocals were perfect, and the musicians shined on their respective intruments. Not having ever seen Big Bad Voodoo Daddy before, I don’t have any other shows to compare it to. I thought they could have left out a couple Cab Calloway songs. I know the latest album is a tribute to him but half the set was new songs and there were a few older songs that I would have rather heard. For this reason I am going to take away one point and give this show a 9.0 on the Concert Blast Scale.
I think to really appericate this band you need to see them live. Hearing them on record is one thing but seeing them live is another. If Big Bad Voodoo Daddy comes close to you, you really should check them out. You will have a good time for sure.
I would like to thank Jennifer from The Wildhorse Saloon for allowing me to cover another show. It was a great time!
Written by James Downing
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Tags: 6/23/2011, Alex Henderson, Andy Rowley, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy concert review, concert blast, concert review blog, Dirk Shumaker, Glen Marhevka, James Downing, Joshua Levy, Karl Hunter, Kurt Sodergren, Nashville, Scotty Morris, TN, Tony Bonsera, Wildhorse Saloon