Let Me Entertain You/So Misunderstood: Cherry Poppin’ Daddies @ World Cafe Live 11.13.09

As I mentioned on the air several hours before the show, the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies are a typical “E. band.”  That is to say that they’re known for only one song (which doesn’t even begin to represent their wild sound), and no one has thought about them for the past 12 or so years.  Still, I love them and, believe it or not, know more songs than just the one.  Hot on the heels of their pair of new releases (a wide release of Susquehanna and a new compilation, Skaboy JFK), I awaited the Daddies’ show with curious anticipation.  When a band shifts styles so many times within the confines of an album, what could a full concert possibly be like?

The night was ushered in by Delco Nightingale, a local-ish jump-blues combo whose peppy renditions of jazz and blues standards got everyone in the mood for a swinging evening.  But would the Daddies even be a swing band this night?  What if those of us (myself included) with our retro attire and classic cocktails were confronted by a skanking band of punks?  What if the glam rock of 2000’s Soul Caddy would dominate the evening?  Would there even be music you could dance to?  Clearly the Daddies thought this through, because their set was as diverse and enjoyable as you might expect.

The Daddies took the stage in two waves: first the band, then the positively electric Steve Perry.  The set organized the genre jumps very properly, devoting large chunks of time to each style before moving on.  They started with a handful of swing tunes, a predictable move but still a lot of fun.  “Dr. Bones,” “Drunk Daddy” and “Doug Jitterbug” got the dancers out on the wide open floor (let’s just say that the attendance left the place…roomy).  While the swingers cut a rug behind me, onstage the Daddies seemed to be having just as good a time.  Guitarist Jason Moss, in his red and black patent leather saddle shoes, danced around with the three-piece horn section while Perry strutted around all corners of the stage.  Songs from Soul Caddy came next, with the T. Rex stomp of “Diamond Light Boogie” and the truly swingin’ “Swingin’ With Tiger Woods (The Big Swing)” leading the way.  Just as soon as they had ventured into harder rocking territory, the Daddies shifted again, this time into two-tone mode.  “2:29,” “Skaboy JFK” and “Hi & Lo” got even the spat-wearing members of the audience to put down their martinis and do some skanking.  As Perry toasted into the mic, the band plowed through song after song after song.  By the time they got back around to more swing songs, they had powered through 15 songs in just over an hour.  Of course, the iconic “Zoot Suit Riot” made an appearance, and the main set was closed with my favorite song of theirs, “Ding Dong Daddy Of The D-Car Line.”

A quick (but still eclectic) encore wrapped things up for the night, an exhaustively fun show for everyone in-the-know enough to come.  They might not be relevant in the “mainstream” anymore, but the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, like so many of their shamefully forgotten contemporaries, remain a best-kept secret in the music world.  Stop calling them a fad band and see them already.  It’s like seeing four different bands, and they’re all incredibly entertaining.

Click the picture at the top of this post to see more of the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies in concert!!

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~ by E. on November 20, 2009.

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