Monday, December 17, 2012

A holiday medley of Charlie Brown, the Ventures, and Run-DMC at the Earl

Posted By on Mon, Dec 17, 2012 at 11:09 AM

There were a lot of sweaters and turtlenecks happening at the Earl on Saturday night. Snowflake cutouts mingled with Christmas lights. Scenes from Abbott & Costello projected from a screen. This was the fifth annual tribute to Vince Guaraldi's score to A Charlie Brown Christmas, which sells out every year.

Jeffrey Bützer on drums, Robby Handly on bass, and T.T. Mahony on piano make up the loungey jazz trio behind the magic. The holiday classic projected on loop as they covered the score. Those vintage Peanuts scenes, and the whole night, really, evaded both irony and cheese on Saturday night. It was fresh.

Bützer joked, "Our ability to get together so much female talent makes me feel like Serge Gainsbourg, without all the unwanted pregnancies."

He was referring to the three vocalists from local bands who joined the ensemble, adding a lush touch to such songs as "Christmas Time is Here." They including Carrie Hodge of What Happened to Your Fire, Tiger, Andi Rogers of Night Driving in Small Towns, and Cassi Costoulas of Bützer's own band, Jeffrey Bützer and the Bicycle Eaters.

The Bicycle Eaters actually opened the show, teasing out a French cabaret style that blended xylophone, accordion, bass, percussion, and Costoulas' vocals in the language of love.

Chad Shivers and the Silent Knights
Chad Shivers and the Silent Knights also opened, performing songs from The Ventures' Christmas Album. They wore matching red sweaters and offered up dapper, syncopated dance moves, creating a scene that could have beamed from your grandmother's first television. Shivers announced that next year, they'll be covering the Beach Boys' Christmas songs, too.

One surprise of the night was an appearance by hip-hop artist Zano Bathroom of Social Studies, who covered Run DMC's "Christmas in Hollis." The show closed out with the evening's entire ensemble, plus a guy in a Santa suit, doing a soulful rendition of "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)." It will take more than a few Beach Boys songs to top this year's Charlie Brown tribute in 2013. Somehow, though, I'm guessing that Bützer and crew will pull it off.

Incase you missed the shows this weekend, you can catch Bützer and Co. performing "A Charlie Brown Christmas" at Nine Street Kitchen in Roswell on Thurs., Dec. 20. $10 (kids 5 and under get in free). 7:30 p.m. Order tickets at 678-682-3222.

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