Gig Review: Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue @ The Corner Hotel

After a remarked passage through Byron Bay Bluesfest, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue came down to our beloved Melbourne to try out the local funkiness. Australians might not have the greatest sense of corporal rhythm, but the band still got us moving around the best we could for a couple of hours. It was that groovy, we just couldn’t stand still.

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So who the hell is Trombone Shorty? He must have a great fanbase to be able to sell out a show at the Corner Hotel on Easter Sunday. And it’s not like he’s on high radio rotation at the moment.

The band earned their reputation through touring around the world, and they are clearly doing it right. But what’s not to love about them? The New Orleans act is playing with the limits of genres, and breaking boundaries . It’s funk, soul, jazz, blues, RnB, rock and pop, yet still coherent.

First of all, they are incredibly skilled and creative musicians. The gig could’ve been experienced eyes closed and still be amazing. However, that would mean missing out on Troy Andrews’ –aka Trombone Shorty – stage performance. The front man is perfectly alternating between singing, playing the trombone, orchestrating the band and lifting the crowd with his smooth moves.

Actually, the performance is all about multitasking and mixing to bring something that sounds old and new at the same time.

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We could clearly hear all the diversified influences in Trombone Shorty’s music. The Jazz tradition was very present with the horns but also the representation of all musicians and instruments thanks to the solos. Each member had their 10 minutes of glory, and the chance to deliver a bit of themselves and their musical standards. The saxophonist was hitting the jazz repertoire whereas the guitarist was clearly more rock. When playing the trombone, Andrews is in a soul tradition but when he sings, he gets closer to an RnB universe with hip-hop beats.

The mix of influences could also be seen in their short covers of artists like Kool & the Gang, Limp Bizkit, Busta Rhymes or even a horns only version of ‘Bang Bang’ by Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj.

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We were very impressed by how generous the musicians were in their performances. From the beginning, it felt like we were in a New Orleans’ club, where the artists are improvising and just having fun. Andrew’s trombone solo was a kind of ode to old jazz clubs with a very soft bass and drums and a muffled light.

While it was a bit ‘American politically correct, the world is beautiful and we won’t say any bad words’ type of show, it was a celebration of music. So at least now you know you can bring your kids to his gigs. And we loved every minute of it.

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Matea Pichet

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