In the hands of someone else, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy front man Scotty Morris’ aping of the conventions of the Swing era—not only the sounds and styles, but the showmanship, too—could come off like a ball of Brie dipped in Velveeta with shredded mozzarella on top. But Morris has such a palpable affection for his influences, it’s hard to read the nine-piece band’s style as anything but charming.
Tack on uptempo holiday fare and it’s a double dose of quaint winsomeness that powers through its knowingly cheeseball premise into something genuinely, unaffectedly convivial. Also, they all have really nice hats, and haberdashery always toys with our affections.
The only knock on the band is they’re so polished, there was little room for improv. Although that made the cacophonous “Zig Zaggity Woop Woop” stand out like a rumpled pocket square on a well-pressed pin-striped double-breaster.
Dipping into their 2004 release Everything You Want for Christmas for about half the show, the Daddies gave the Mannheim Steamroller-fatigued set something to remind them that holiday music need not be dreary. They used the other half of the concert to showcase old hits and a selection of jams off newest release Rattle Them Bones, which sees the outfit trading in their straight swing for a little hot jazz. But the heat was second fiddle on a night of boozy, brassy snow. ★★★☆☆