[Dixielandjazz] Re: Mardi Gras

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Wed Mar 5 15:11:04 PST 2003

> Dan Augustine <ds.augustine at mail.utexas.edu> wrote:
> Folks--
>     Anybody besides us playing a Mardi Gras gig tonight anywhere?  What tunes are you playing?  Do you throw beads?  Do you stay on stage, or do you go into the audience?  What sends the crowd (i.e., any audience actually outnumbering the band, without counting the staff) into a frenzy of stuffing cash into your tip-jar?

Barbone Street had 6 mardi gras gigs in the past 3 days. The usual suspects in the "A" band version did three, and I subbed out 3 other gigs under our name at different venues because of time conflicts. One of which was the Red Lion Band (Tex Wyndham's local group) with a clarinet sub for me.

The "A" version always throws beads. Mardi Gras or not. I and the guitarist personally go, out into the audience and drape them at most performances. At two of our venues,  club management provided beads to all attendees. However, even there, we managed to drape a few pretty ladies ourselves. We also sang to them, and put
them on our stools on the bandstand while "connecting". We get kisses on the cheek, or lips for beads every time we do it. Sometimes we get flashed. Very much fun.

We play our usual Condon book, including more current tunes, however we make sure to play Bourbon Street Parade, Joe Avery Blues, Saints, Bill Bailey, New Orleans, Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans, Way Down Younder In New Orleans, and stuff like that, in our usual Condon style. We find the audience likes these
best, along with others like "Things Ain't What They Used To Be" after an intro like "This next tune is for us old band guys and is about things. .. PAUSE...Things Ain't What They Used To Be." With several band members adding "They sure Aren't" and grimacing happily.

Or we fo Basin Street Blues, a trombone feature, with an intro like: "Our trombonist is going to ride on a tune about the street where all the bordellos were in New Orleans. He is a whorehouse expert." Always gets everybody's attention because Glenn Dodson was a famous Symphony player and in his prime one of the 4 best in
the world. It is so unexpected to link him with Bordellos. He, of course, protests that he doesn't know anything about them. However, among his credits is 9 years with New Orleans Symphony in his youth and this tune is called after his credits have been spoken to the audience.

We find that this type of Presentation assures us of of a multitude of gigs all year and a very high call back rate in a vast variety of neat, local venues. That and the fact that the band plays the hell out of the music to the audience, most of whom have no idea of the type of music it is that we are playing, yet they love
it. (Young people mostly).

We do not use a tip jar, (our gigs are well paid) but people do come up on their own and hand us money for song requests every once in a while. Biggest tip so far this year was a hundred dollar bill from someone who looked like one of the "goodfellows".  Reminded us of the 1950s, and what we heard about the 20s and 30s. It
was just a tip, perhaps for draping his girl friend with beads, no song request.

Steve Barbone

PS. I still have a few jpgs of our "bead interaction" with pretty young girls. Hollar at me off list if you'd like to see guys in their 60s and 70s flirting with 20 and 30 year old girls. Ah, the fantasy of it. Almost as good as playing the music.

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