Who dat! Trombone Shorty brings New Orleans to Lake Tahoe

Slideshow images by Kurt E. Johnson

Conductor Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews greeted Lake Tahoe with a smile and a handshake and took us on the St. Charles Streetcar into the French Quarter where we drank Hurricanes and stuffed ourselves with Cajun crawfish etouffee. We danced all night, and when we thought it was time to go home, the band served beignets for dessert.
Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, today’s hottest band from the city that invented the music, dazzled a nearly full house in the MontBleu Theatre Aug. 21 with 15 songs in a lively 1 hour, 45 minute set.

Chairs and tables were removed for dancing on the showroom’s lowest tier. Amazingly, deputies only once had to remove female dancers who jumped upon the stage. The 28-year-old bandleader seemed to make eye contact with everybody and he shook every hand within reach.

The talented sextet is young, and that might have been crucial, especially for the three nonstop horn players who breathed through their instruments at elevation 6,300 feet all night. At times Shorty would step back to catch his breath, but in an instant he was back at the mic.

A bandleader since he was 6, Shorty has developed bullfrog cheeks which doubtless will someday look something like Dizzy Gillespie’s. But for now, he is rail thin and a rock star who plays trombone, tambourine, trumpet, drums and sings. The crowd was a mixture of young and old, everyone smiling.

Drummer Joey Peebles was outstanding, keeping everything together while everyone else went their syncopated ways. At one point the high-hat symbols teetered and he banged away. Guitarist Pete Murano was equally adept at rhythmically shaking his fingers on the funk grooves as he was soloing on rock riffs. Dan Oestreicher wasn’t much taller than his baritone saxophone. His NOLA flavored solos were the best on the instrument I’ve ever heard. Tim McFatter supported the sound with tenor sax. He didn’t get caught up in histrionics until the most frenzied moments. Michael “Bass” Ballard has a much personality as any bassist you’ll see. He made snappy hand gestures between notes. By the end of the show his moves were mimicked by McFatter and Oestreicher.

“We need to come back up here more often,” Shorty told the crowd. After he said his goodbyes after a couple of songs it appeared the night was over.

But the crowd called the band back for more. It seemed like a genuine encore because the set list I nabbed off the stage didn’t include the final songs played.

“Let’s go to the Mardi Gras,” Shorty said before playing the iconic Professor Longhair song.

Finally, all six members took sticks and stood on the drum riser and played a raucous solo.

Who dat!

Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
MontBleu Theatre, Aug. 21, 2014
Set list
“Slippery Lips”
Craziest Thints”
“Buckjump”
“Sistamamalover”
“Big 12”
“Fire & Brimstone”
“Shortyville”
“On Your Way Down”
“Veiux Carre”
“St. James Infirmary”
“One Night Only”
“Hurricane Season”
“Do To Me”
Encore
“Go to the Mardi Gras”
Sextet drum solo

 

ABOUT Tim Parsons

Picture of Tim Parsons
Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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