For the swingin’ side of things, I caught Big Bad Voodoo Daddy playing its holiday show at Kodak Center on the Ridge Sunday night. Though small in number, the audience ate up all the big bad voodoo the band could throw at it.
Since Brian Setzer’s tinnitus grounded his Christmas tour this year, the kids still needed a yuletide fix. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy was the perfect substitution for the Brian Setzer Orchestra, and I actually prefer smaller big bands. Setzer is good — too good — and tends to overplay in spots. It’s jaw-dropping for sure (cue the “ka-ching” cash register sound effect here), but a little exhausting to behold. Smaller bands like BBVD leave air between the notes, leaving the listener with a more dynamic high.
At Sunday’s show, they didn’t overplay the “Christ is born” schmaltz, nor did they plug jingle bells into every arrangement, nor did they toy with the “coming down the old chimney” double entendre. And I’ve never said this before, but I hate the word “swaddling.”
It was a night of secular swing as well. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy played their hits, “Go Daddy-O,” et al. Anyway, there was plenty to love, stylistically: some New Orleans second line, some low-down swing a la Cab, and an overall attack of brass that was world-class, as was Kodak Center’s sound and general layout. Overall, a dazzling show to behold. I look forward to more shows here in the future. And to all a good night.
Frank De Blase is CITY’s music writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.