Well… Big Bad Voodoo Daddy was just awesome on Monday night, although I was just super-tired. The gig was at this great venue called “The Commodore” which is in an old wooden building on Granville street. Underneath the dance floor is about 5 inches of tire rubber which not only absorbs the shock of an evening’s fun for 1500 people, but makes for a really springy swinging experience.
The Commodore just reopened last weekend after being closed for two years — it’s a proud old dance hall in the 1940’s fashion that has just been updated for the millennium. Sadly, some of the real character was taken away from it — like the bubble lights on all of the support poles, the old B-17 cockpit that housed the DJ booth upstairs, and the beautiful chandeliers — but more was added in the form of big, panoramic windows lining both the front and back of the club, a wider staircase to get into the place, and plush velvet everywhere.
BBVD hopped through a mixture of classics and songs from their last album and their new album. What was really interesting were the quantity and quality of polished swing disciples who entertained the whole crowd with their fantastic dancing. Zoot suits, fedoras, hanging suspenders and wingtips (I felt underdressed!) were everywhere.
Something eventful always happens when I go to the Commodore. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy blew out the sound system at the Commodore just as they finished their set with a big blast of “Go Daddy-O”. The sudden silence coming from the stage was greeted by confused band members and an audience that continued to chant “Go Daddy-O” until they made their return for an encore that any street busker would be proud of. As the crowd helped Scotty Moore belt out the lyrics to “Minnie The Moocher” and “So Long-Farewell-Goodbye” they gathered close to the stage to hear as the horns wailed without amplification — sometimes competing with piercing fire alarm bells. Good bands entertain you. Great bands invite you into their world and make you feel comfortable there. Thanks to Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, a real “we’re all friends here” atmosphere permeated the room and the Commodore was duly re-blessed.
Shortly after the show ended, however, we realized that not only had the sound system blown but also the lighting, and more importantly the air conditioning. The half-hour wait for the coat check (some things never change) was almost unbearable, and re-emerging into the rain was like escaping an oven.