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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Big bad show from the Voodoo Daddys

    Sheldon Smith / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
    Sheldon Smith
    Sheldon Smith / Arizona Daily Wildcat Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

    Contrary to audience speculation, the members of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy are not that bad, but they do dress like BAMFs. Sporting full suit attire complete with a fedora tipped slightly to the side, and armed with an instrument of choice – guitar, trumpet, trombone, bass, drums, maracas, piano, vocal chords – these men know how to party.

    A slow seduction was set for the crowd at the Rialto Theatre on Thursday night, with the lights dimmed and swing music to set the mood for a later, more personal rendezvous. There was no opening band, just a one-on-one with the Daddys themselves. A section of cushioned chairs lined the back of the theatre, snuggling next to the well equipped bar, and a prime floor for cutting a rug lay open in front of the stage, which was bathed in a red glow.

    The concert appeared to be the perfect occasion for a dress up party: young women slipped on retro-chic dresses, hair twisted in ’30s updos, donning blood red lips, and men chose fedoras – and for those feeling rather valorous – dress shirts and ties for their nightly attire. The Daddys have a charm irresistible to many; from the 20s and 30s to the 40s and 50s, it was difficult to believe members of the audience all came of their own accord – no comprises were made this evening – everyone got what they wanted.

    The stage replicated any 1930s big band set up and as the Daddys alighted the stage, the full theatre swelled in a riot of ecstasy; 16 years of experience will make you a crowd pleaser if you hadn’t been already. A saxophone solo performed by Karl Hunter, who eerily resembled a question mark in stature, took front and center in “”Hey Now,”” belting out a melody string of major notes as brassy and awe-inspiring as Ivie Anderson.

    Older couples swing-danced and younger couples wished they could, enviously looking on as they attempted an odd hip gyration in compensation. The real show came when the band stepped into a few of Cab Calloway’s numbers that he played at the Cotton Club back in 1931. It was like having a pack of lightning bolts down your pants and red ants snapping at your feet – if you didn’t move your body then your soul would up and run off without it.

    “”Reefer Man”” twisted between the spectators like a tail of smoke, intoxicating the lot and sending them into ecstatic war cries of euphoria; who would have known marijuana could be such an upper. The Daddys did many a number with echoes from the audience: “”Hoo-dee-hoo!”” they’d chant back, as the lead singer basked in the warm ray of vocal blends they offer.

    A voice like hot honey, Scotty Morris smothered all the songs in a melodic sweetness, never overpowering and leaving space for solos across the board, namely Glen “”The Kid”” Marhevka’s trumpet solo, spitting out pearls of bright white notes, leading up to pitches rarely matched in instrument or opera singer alike. And as 10 p.m. rolled around, the audience would hear of no such thing as an ending, and the Daddys complied with two more songs. Through and through the Daddys kept it classy.

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