New Orleans was definitely in the house at KAABOO on Sunday. With the Dirty Dozen Brass Band playing at 1 p.m. on the DSD Trestles Stage and Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue following shortly after on the Sunset Cliffs stage, you could almost smell the crawfish etouffee and jambalaya wafting through the air.
Established in 1977, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band changed traditional New Orleans jazz by infusing it with funk. Over the years, band members have changed about as many times as the “Big Easy” has hosted Mardi Gras celebrations. But founding member and sousaphone player Kirk Joseph led his seven-piece band through a rollicking set on Sunday.
Joseph’s crew opened their performance to a modest crowd that was huddled under a small, square-shaped patch of shade in front of the DSD Trestles stage. But by mid-set, a decent-sized crowd willing to brave the midday sun assembled to listen and dance.
And they were not disappointed.
Dressed in tie-dye and MC-ing much of the between-song banter, trumpeter Efram Towns wowed the audience with his trademark trumpet in one hand, flugelhorn in the other, double playing.
Young drummer Julian Addison kept the bottom line tight and Takeshi Shimmura lit it up when it was his turn. Trumpeter Gregory Davis and saxophonists Roger Lewis and Kevin Harris each took turns in the spotlight as well.
And while they didn’t exit the stage by doing their traditional crowd walk-through, the 38-year-old band left KAABOO much better than they found it.
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue was next, and while their hometowns and inspiration might make them brethren, there is a stark contrast between the two bands.
Under a gigantic video screen with their moniker scrawled across it, Trombone Shorty (aka Troy Andrews) led his band through a set that highlighted a more modern approach to the music of New Orleans. Kicking things off with the rocking “Liar, Liar,” the guitar power chords alone signal that Andrews isn’t cooking with a traditional recipe. But the band was firing on all cylinders as they ripped through their set, which surprisingly didn’t include a single song from their latest LP, 2013’s “Say That To This.”
They did, however, completely crush a version of Green Day’s “Brain Stew,” and threw in some Kool & The Gang’s “Get Down On It” during closer “Do To Me.”
The two sets couldn’t have been more different. But with one band keeping the roots of New Orleans music alive, and one band issuing it into the future, the double-bill was nearly perfect.