Big Bad Voodoo Daddy swings into Derry on Sunday | News


DERRY — Big Bad Voodoo Daddy is ready to transport their New Hampshire crowd back in time with their roaring swing music at Tupelo Music Hall on Sunday, Aug. 13.

The popular nine-piece band has played over 3,000 shows in the past 30 years at venues across the U.S. and the world.

But the Derry venue is one of saxophonist Karl Hunter’s favorite theaters — because of the view from its parking lot.

“I love it when we go to Derry because I go out to the parking lot and it’s just lined by all these trees,” Hunter said. “It’s a treat just to be outdoors after being inside air-conditioned theaters and seeing greenery.”

It’s a breath of fresh air after playing clubs in cities surrounded by buildings. “We play a lot of theaters and clubs where we don’t see that,” he said.

Nothing beats New England weather in August when on the West Coast the temperature is sweltering, said the California native.

“We come to New Hampshire for a string of shows and everything is green and lush and beautiful,” he said.

The Derry crowd will be out of their seats for the fast-paced, upbeat performance which covers a cross-section of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s music to create a true spectacle.

They’ll play the hits like “Go Daddy-O” and “Mr. Pinstripe” which rose the band to success in the early 1990s. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy also integrates later tracks like “The Jitters” which Hunter categorizes as a frenetic, quick tune, reminiscent of songs too fast to dance to back in the 1920s, but that didn’t stop flappers.

“It’s a moment in the night that people really plug into the set,” Hunter said.

The show also allows for improvisation. The horn section, which includes Hunter, gets to go to town on numbers and keep the show fresh for them.

For a band who’s surpassed the equivalent of more than eight years on the road, with back-to-back tour dates, those moments of improvisation add unexpected elements to any given show.

It’s a high-energy performance that flies by for the crowd and band Hunter said — much like the last three decades for them.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy helped usher in a swing music revival when they came on the scene in the 1990s. “It was a weird groundswell of people revisiting that music for a second time,” Hunter said.

The 1996 movie “Swingers” expanded Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s appeal to mainstream. With their popularity, the band was referenced in pop culture and their songs appeared in other movies.

Drew Barrymore’s character in “Never Been Kissed” was even rumored to have dated the drummer from the band. “It’s a badge of honor for Kurt (Sodergren),” Hunter said with a laugh.

After 30 years, they still have the seven original band members and added two members along the way. “A lot of that has to do with our friendships and how we picked guys to be involved,” Hunter said.

Although he considers himself one of the “new guys” in the band, being with them for 28 years, he said he’s amazed how the band’s been able to create a niche for themselves through the swing movement and play to loyal fans three decades later.

“For us, it was a really fun time,” Hunter said. “Luckily we’ve been able to take that energy and keep doing it. When I joined, I thought, ‘OK. A swing band — cool.’ I didn’t have any expectation that 30 years later I would be doing the same thing.”

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