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July 13, 2024

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SHOW REVIEW: Cherry Poppin' Daddies
House of Blues -- Lake Buena Vista, Florida

By: Jen Brown

The House of Blues here in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, as all other House Of Blues, always puts on a great show, and last night was no exception. Everyone had come to see the ska/swing band The Cherry Poppin' Daddies. It promised to be a night filled with diverse music, ranging from island to ska to swing to rock.

First up was 11 piece Ozomati straight out of L.A. Before taking to the stage, the band paraded through the audience, attracting much attention. Then it was on with their set. Their unique sound blended a variety of music styles, ranging from funk to reggae, to island, even a bit of salsa thrown in to spice things up. The music played was only the tip of the iceberg. The band's stage performance also aided in warming up the crowd. Imagine a Backstreet Boys concert, all their great dance moves, now change their music style to that of Ozomati's and take all their pretty clothes and trendy tattoos away. Have them sing in Spanish and there you have it, an Ozomati show. To end out their set the band didn't simply walk off the stage. They left in style, grabbing percussion instruments and moving their show into the crowd so that the hard working roadies could get the stage ready for the next band. Moving through the crowd, the boys of Ozomati soon formed a circle in the crowd and continued to play. Their sound reminded me of my days in my high school's marching band. For any of you out there in band, you all know what a cadence is, well Ozomati played one great cadence.

Only minutes after Ozomati finished playing for the crowd, in the crowd, the Pietasters graced the audience with their presence. Unfortunately, at first, not too many people were dancing. I suppose they were all recovering from Ozomati. Soon, however, the band picked up the pace, and the crowd started moving to the sounds of the Pietasters' ska beat. Shortly into the set someone decided they should be on stage, dancing and show casing their special skanking skills, this lead to another person coming on stage, and within minutes over 30 kids from the crowd joined the band on stage. The Pietasters really didn't seem to mind that the seven of them were now sharing a stage with at least 30 skanking kids. After all, they were getting paid to entertain and have a good time, which is just what they were doing. Finally it was time for the main act, the band that everyone had been waiting to see, the band that brought a sold out show to the House of Blues, the Cherry Poppin' Daddies. At precisely 10:30, a disco ball started spinning and the stage lights came on to reveal the eight piece band from Oregon. Despite the fact that the band is considered a "swing band," by the general public, those who are more educated know that that has not always been the case. When the Cherry Poppin' Daddies originally formed they played a lot of ska and rock tunes. Tonight they went back to some of their earlier albums, in addition to playing all the current favorites from Zoot Suit Riot. Naturally, the swinging hits from Zoot Suit Riot, such as the title track, Dr. Bones, and Brown Derby Jump brought out the swingers. As the band played, the crowd danced. However, when the style of music switched to the older ska sound, well, all those swingers had no idea what to do. It was very amusing watching couple try to find a beat to swing to in older rock tunes such as Don Quixote. Also during these older songs, the energetic lead singer, Steve Perry showcased his guitar playing talents.

From my vantage point high above the stage, I noticed many things, one was how diverse the crowd was. There were young kids, teenage couples, even adults. Now this is to be expected, however what I didn't expect to see was middle-aged couples actually dancing. It was nice to see that music truly does bring together generations. I know that my mother an I don't usually enjoy the same kind of music, but one band that we both love is The Cherry Poppin' Daddies. Unfortunately, my mom wasn't able to attend the show, but I know if she had gone, she like so many other people at the show, would have been swinging away.

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