Review: Squirrel Nut Zippers


Squirrel Nut Zippers at the Triple Door - August 15, 2008

I’ve mentioned before [mb] how the boyfriend and I only share one music cd in common. That cd is the Squirrel Nut Zippers’ Hot, a band I thought I’d never get to see live.

It’s interesting how a band that was practically broken up by the time I started listening to them has spanned so much of my adult life. Of course, that was twelve years and at least two cities ago so probably not THAT surprising. Thank God I signed up for that seemingly long dead mailing list years ago since as late as the 14th there was practically no advertising for their two Seattle shows. But, you know, I suppose everyone who cared was on that same mailing list since the Triple Door looked if not sold-out then pretty close.

For the record, the Squirrel Nut Zippers [myspace] are not a swing band – although swing’s 1990s resurgence did help catapult them into the limelight. They’re more of a gypsy-esque amalgamation of hot southern jazz, blues, calypso, and maybe just a little swing. SNZ is fronted by both a male, “Jimbo” Mathus, and female, Katherine Whalen, singer – but rarely both during the same song – which adds to their stubborn resistance to classification. The fact that the boyfriend has this cd in with his full collection of Judas Priest and old school metal probably says something about both him and the band.

As far as the show went, the band was very very tight. There was fiddling and fancy saxophones and mainly a right good time. Strangely no banjo or much from the tiny guitar family, but still deliciously fun. The set list was fairly early-catalog heavy, including my favorite, Good Enough for Granddad, but I think they were playing to crowd expectations. No one appeared to be complaining though, as the crowd was pretty fairly into it. One couple even flaunted the no-dancing rule (gasp!) towards the end of the show. However, the highlight was, without a doubt, the live accompaniment to the animated video/film, The Ghost of Steven Foster [youtube].

Next time they blow through town, I highly recommend the show. In the meantime, keep a look-out for their promised new live record – which might contain performances from these past Triple Door shows – as well as a new studio record next year.

1 Comment so far

  1. thesoze on August 27th, 2008 @ 7:37 am

    yea, saw the 10pm show…it wasn’t as lively as the last time the played in Seattle…definitely nostalgic – We had fun, though!

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