Despite their impressive 25 year-long career, the last original Squirrel Nut Zippers album before 2018 Beasts of Burgundy was released in 2000. Therefore, any piece of the Beasts of Burgundy Tour would be something to hype up. The Squirrel Nut Zipper’s genre category is very difficult to identify, but is most generally summed up with “neo-swing”. Combo-ing up blues, jazz, big-band, and folk with swing, they are a significant name to in the swing revival.
Flooding the stage with members, these old coots had nothing short of energy to display. Mainly, songs off Beasts of Burgundy plus a few classics kicked on one after another, but with comedy bits thrown in during the show. Lead-singer “Jimbo” primarily held center-stage down, but his adjacent “Dr. Sick” was the true muse of the night. Fully loaded with quick puns, a reindeer headband, and not-so-subtly-sexual fiddle playing, “The Axeman”, as they call him, was easily the most exciting figure on stage. To subordinate, The Zippers took several moments in the performance to showcase other members. Cella Blue serenaded the audience with two solos, Tamara Nicolai lifted her sugar-skull upright bass above her head and towards the end, “Mr.Wonderful” stepped into the center light to flaunt his gorgeous youth, hair, and saxophone ability.
The music was lively, the funky cast of members each rocked their spotlight, and the overall experience was quirky and energetic. Travelling from their homebase in New Orleans, The Squirrel Nut Zippers played a tight-knit Varsity Theatre show, came onto the floor to start a second line parade during the last song, and hung out with audience members after the setlist ended. May these kinky swingers swing on!