August 14, 2017

Trombone Shorty and Orleans Ave Completely Exceed Expectations

trombone shorty conor graham nightmair creative

On Saturday I was lucky enough to get a ticket to see Trombone Shorty and his band Orleans Avenue play at the 18th Annual Burnaby Blues and Roots Festival in Burnaby. Trombone Shorty’s set started at eight thirty, unfortunately, at seven thirty I was still in Gastown, an hour bus ride away from Deer Lake Park, the location of the festival.

I tried to get down to Burnaby as fast as I could, I was late, stressed out, and I almost didn’t get in. But luckily, things worked out and I was suddenly in!  As soon as I walked through the entrance, looked over the grassy hill of Deer Lake Park, and heard Trombone Shorty blasting music out of his trumpet, my stress lifted.

For those who don’t know, Trombone Shorty’s music is a mix of Jazz, Big Band Music, Blues, Classic Rock and R&B. He plays with a full band that includes three back up singers, two guitarists, one bassist, two saxophone players, a drummer, and a percussionist (bongos). Shorty himself plays trombone, trumpet, drums (so-so)  and sings lead vocals.

Once I got into the festival grounds and walked down the long grassy hill and up to the show, the first thing I noticed was how much fun the band seemed to be having on stage. They were very comfortable playing with each other and messing around on stage. This carefree attitude infected the crowd.

The crowd, which was filled with lots of children, familiess, and grey hairs, were dancing on the lush grass and mixing it up like a group of over excited teenagers.

But it wasn’t just enthusiasm that drove their performance;  Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue are expert musicians. Sprinkled throughout their show were solos from each band member that showcased their charisma and technical skill. The stand outs of which, had to be Trombone Shorty‘s three backup singers, their voices were big, loud and sounded beautiful. And of course, one could not speak of Trombone Shorty without speaking of his trombone and trumpet. The man wields his instruments like they are bazookas. His mastery of his craft is plainly apparent.

trombone shorty conor graham nightmair creative

Added to this series of solos was a very unrehearsed sounding rap from Dan Oestreicher, the baritone saxophonist in Orleans Avenue, the rap was from a cover of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers song, “Give it Away,” which might have been the most endearingly bad rap I’ve ever witnessed.

Most of the songs Shorty and the band played were long and technically challenging, but each song also featured a catchy chorus or hook. This combination of technical ability and strong songwriting skills is what makes Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue such an entertaining act. Add in their infectious attitude, and you got a party on your hands.

After almost not being able to see them, it was wonderful to find that Trombone Short and Orleans Avenue completely exceeded my expectations.

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written by Conor Graham



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