Goddamn Goddamn Goddamn. Kermit Ruffins and the BBQ Swingers, live at The New Parish with MJ’s Brass Boppers and Nayo Jones. Where the hell does one even start. Everyone put on an absolutely incredible show, transplanting a tiny taste of New Orleans right to the heart of Oakland, and I couldn’t be more grateful.
MJ’s Brass Boppers kicked off the night with a full brass band, just starting out everything in full swing. From directing the audience to Two Step, preaching to the full choir to “Free Your Mind”, and bringing the entire crowd to their feet as they sang “TURN UP” MJ’s Brass Boppers were the perfect opening act for Kermit’s performance. It was cool to learn that the band itself had roots in both the Bay and NOLA, with many of the members being native to New Orleans but living in Bay. A great reminder that culturally a lot of cities are more connected, musically and otherwise than we might think.
Kermit’s performance was spectacular, as expected. The electric, eccentric jazz style he puts forth is wild, bouncy and utterly fantastic. Anything but a stage hog, Kermit would often stand aside for the BBQ Swingers to take over with brilliant solos by the pianist, bassist, and drummer.
Kermit played several of his classics, made jokes in between songs, and wasn’t at all afraid to jump into some over done covers of songs – bringing all the ladies on stage for several performances of Party Rock (Kermit has never shied away from pop covers, one of my personal favorite’s is his cover of “O-o-h Child” off his Live at Vaughn’s album). It was cheesy sure, but Kermit was having so much genuine fun you couldn’t help but go along for the ride – and it would pay off tremendously.
Kermit’s “surprise” guest, Nayo Jones, knocked the wind out of the crowd with her rendition of “Killing Me Softly”.
Everything about the show was spectacular, from the performances, to the general vibe of The New Parish, to the Cajun BBQ held out in the Courtyard in between sets. For a night, it felt like Oakland had been picked up and dropped off right in the heart of New Orleans.
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MJ’s Brass Boppers