Squirrel Nut Zippers put on polished show at Campbell Hall

by Kyle Crocco, Writing Advisor
Tuesday, March 06, 2018 9:10 AM

 These are not your Dad’s Squirrel Nut Zippers. Or your Mom’s. Not even your Uncle’s.

Revived with fresh new talent from New Orleans for ​a 20th anniversary tour of their album Hot, these 21st century Squirrel Nut Zippers—fronted by founding member Jimbo Mathus—may be their best version yet.

This concert on Thursday, March 1 at Campbell Hall made me a believer. From the moment the band marched out on stage at Campbell Hall, banging a side drum, until the moment they ended their concert with side drum and horns among the audience members in the lobby of Campbell Hall​—like they were performing for a New Orleans parade​—these musicians knew how to deliver a show.

The nine-piece-band led by Mathus, played a mixture of old favorites from the 90s and new tunes from their forthcoming album Beasts of Burgundy (released March 2018).

Each musician was feature​d during the concert, starting with multi-instrumentalist and long​-beard aficionado Dr. Sick to the baritone saxophonist Henry Westmoreland, who lent his vocals to one of the closing songs.

Their performance was well practiced and thoroughly entertaining. It combined vaudeville comedy, theater, and talented musicianship all in one tidy package.

During breaks between songs, Mathus would tell corny jokes, Dr. Sick would mime reactions, and Cella Blue would change from one amazing outfit into another. You were never sure what was going to come next.

If you missed them at the UCSB Arts and Lecture sponsored event, no need to kick yourself. The band is currently on tour.