A dark room is filled to the brim with the murmurs and shadows of many figures. Daddy-O’s with pinstriped suits and felted fedoras sit back with a cool charisma, while their swingin’ sweeties sip their sparkling cocktails and talk amongst each other. Beneath the dim spotlight on the tables and chairs, the excitement and euphoria of the atmosphere can be sliced with a knife. With the flip of a switch and the burst of rainbow colored lights, the stage becomes alive. Dapper musicians dressed in a cloak of black and shiny brass instruments ascend the platform to the roar of the audience. With toes tappin’, fingers snappin’, limbs jivin’ and bodies swingin’, the boys of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy are going to give these swingers and music lovers the time of their lives.
It’s not often that a stage full of nine musicians can produce a sound that is so tight and vivacious that is seems as though there is only one instrument that is melded together and has the audience up on their feet. But that’s how the band members of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy roll. With five men on horns, a drummer, an upright bassist, a keyboardist, and of course, Scotty Morris as the lead singer and guitarist, these movers and shakers had the whole audience at One World Theatre jivin’ to their big band music.
While Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (or BBVD as the cool kids say) has performed at the One World Theatre more than once, they have been playing and developing their sound for years. Founded in the late 1980’s by lead singer Morris and drummer Kurt Sodergren, they caught on to the public eye with their tracks “You and Me and the Bottle Makes Three (Baby)” and “Go-Daddy-O” in the classic cult favorite, Swingers. With many hit albums under their belt, the boys have been touring everywhere from California to Atlanta, and even writing songs for movies.
Even though this booming band has been together for over 20 years, their sound was as fresh and dynamic as ever at One World’s venue. Trumpets, trombones and saxophones moved up and down in unison, their gleaming brass tubes peppering the performance with upbeat pops of sound. Fedoras and ties swayed back and forth along with the spin of the bass and fingers gliding across the keyboard with a smooth elegance. The drumming served as the perfect backbone of the whole musical feast, providing the quintessential tap and percussion while letting all others shine too. And the shouts of “daddy-o” and immaculate harmonies between the group would make anyone in that audience reminisce back to the “good old days” of a mid-century Swing club where men still wore zoot suits and couples knew how to Jitterbug. There was not one audience member I saw that wasn’t bobbing their head, snapping their fingers or tapping their toes-the joint was jumping!
One of the best parts of the whole night, though, was being able to experience Big Bad Voodoo Daddy inside the One World Theatre. In such an intimate space with top-notch sound acoustics, every note of the saxophone and string of the bass could be heard and truly experienced. Instead of feeling like an outsider trying to listen in, the crowd was immersed in the colorful bursts of music that is the heart and soul of Swing. In another venue, the hard work and passion of the band could have been lost among the atmosphere, but inside this venue even the audience members in the back could feel as though they were front and center.
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy is not a name that you would forget easily, and neither is their music. Whether or not you are an avid Swing music fan, these boys have something for everyone, and a sound that makes you want to put on your finest suit and gown and dance the night away. If you missed their performance this time, be sure to lookout for when they come again to the One World Theatre- these cats always show their audience a jivin’ good time!