Tuba Skinny – ‘Rag Band’ [Independent]

We were incredibly fortunate to catch the double-set Tuba Skinny live show across the weekend, the final night of a few months touring the country before they head back home to New Orleans. Undoubtedly one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, The Standard played host to an event more reminiscent of a giant open air street party, nothing but vibes and dancing all night.

Tuba Skinny is an eight-piece that evolved from busking on the streets, and now comprising of clarinetist, washboard player, two banjos, a trombone, a tuba player a cornet/violinist and a female vocalist / drum beater. Proper dixieland, swingtime jazz mixed in with some blues, these guys are steeped in their hometown’s history. Check the video below of them playing acoustic in the French Quarter, one of a few streets where you’ll regularly find them busking in New Orleans. A beautiful version of Skip James’ Crow Jane that really shows off her stunning voice.

This was the third consecutive year of Tuba Skinny touring Australia and selling out every show. The roster seems to change a bit here and there, but as a group they also played Sydney Festival and Umbria Jazz Festival last year and are picking up fans every time they play.

The swing, shag and charleston dancers of Sydney were out in full force for Saturday’s show, damn it made me want to learn how to dance. The tallest man in the room by far happened to be one of the gents on banjo, who wasn’t shy about jumping in to the crowd as a partner for some of the ladies who could properly move. It’s all part of the music, infectious as it was the players took turns doing their thing and seemed to be enjoying it as much as the audience. When was the last time you get to enjoy a washboard solo I ask?

For longtime fans and recent converts there’s even more good news. The band’s Australian tour was done off the back of them recording their new album, done somewhere in Tasmania across six days. In the meantime you should definitely check their last one, which was a live recording titled Rag Band which you can stream below. If there in town I recommend doing whatever it takes to see them play, and definitely head over to their site as well where they’ve linked up a lot of live videos and some more info on their doings: http://tubaskinny.tk/