Archive for Tuesday, October 20, 1998


October 20, 1998


The kids were kickin' up their heels and flipping their dance mates over their backs Sunday night at the red-hot Cherry Poppin' Daddies concert at Liberty Hall.

The seven-member band delivers a high-energy set infused with swing, rock 'n' roll, punk and big band -- a recipe that's guaranteed to get the blood pumpin' and the joint jumpin'.

The Cherry Poppin' Daddies is fronted by Steve Perry, a handsome guy who takes on a persona that's a mix between Elvis Presley and David Byrne. His voice is dynamically limber, allowing him to carry off screams as well as scats.

Plus he's all over the stage -- one minute doing a wide-armed Charleston, the next jumping like a frenzied rock star, the next doing a bump-and-grind that would put a Chippendale to shame.

While Perry is in the spotlight, he is backed by one of the tightest ensembles around: Jason Moss, lead guitar; Tim Donahue, drums; Dan Schmid, bass; Dana Heitman, trumpet and trombone; Sean Flannery, tenor sax; and Ian Early, alto sax and tenor sax.

The band's 1 1/2-hour concert combined songs from the band's ``Zoot Suit Riot'' CD with some new material. While the music is hyper and upbeat, the storytelling lyrics are often dark.

One of Perry's favorite subjects is the effects of alcoholism on a father-son relationship. ``Drunk Daddy'' tells of a father who ``broke my fingers,'' ``kicked my head'' and ``smashed by sister/Turned my whole world red (blood red).'' The lyrics also turn nasty and describe sexual escapades. ``The Ding-Dong Daddy of the D-Car Line,'' with its Cab Calloway-like rhythm, is about a man ``who does sixteen women wrong.'' And no need explaining what ``Here Comes the Snake'' is about.

The Cherry Poppin' Daddies is one of the freshest bands to come down the pike in a long time. Their shelf life is sure to outlast today's swing craze.

-- Jan Biles' phone message number is 832-7146. Her e-mail address is

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