August 13, 2016 at Ashkenaz in Berkeley.
16-Piece New Orleans Orchestra & Cabaret Show plus TBA
In its extravagant Ashkenaz debut, the 16-member orchestra and cabaret show Vaud & the Villains will spill off the stage in a fast-paced performance of new, old, and older songs with too many horn players, dancers, singers, and instrumentalists to keep up with. The Villains have performed everywhere, from Hollywood Bowl to Cannes Film Festival, and on the “House of Lies” television show with Don Cheadle.
Slightly naughty, but geared nicely for all ages, Vaud & the Villains’ show is a full theatrical presentation, filling the entertainment gap between Busby Berkeley musicals and Bruce Springsteen’s “Seeger Sessions.” In fact, it was Springsteen’s 2006 acoustic band doing Pete Seeger-associated American songs predating Seeger by decades or a century (“John Henry,” “Eyes on the Prize,” which the Villains also do), that inspired Los Angeles actor Andy Comeau and his wife Dawn Lewis to become saxophonist-bandleader Vaud Overstreet and singing dancer Peaches Mahoney, as they accumulated a one-ring circus of talent under the banner Vaud & the Villains in 2008.
They dug into the songs, went from Woody Guthrie to New Orleans jazz and R&B, and added vaudeville to create a musical and cultural crazy-quilt of American roots music that now mixes about half old songs (not just the folk stuff, but soul medleys with “Higher and Higher,” “634-5789,” and the like) and half band originals. And the rest, as they say, may be history, but it’s all in the context of a full entertainment experience.