Local Heroes

Dirty Dozen Brass Band

In New Orleans, people hire brass bands for all occasions, including weddings, parties, and funerals. We're talking the rat-a-tat drum, slurping trombone, rollicking trumpet, huffing tuba, march-down-the-street combination that's long been a unique staple of the city. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band took that formula and combined it with a funky Meters style of New Orleans R&B to create a Preservation Hall jazz sound for the modern era. That was way back during the late Seventies to the early Eighties, when the group quickly rose to worldwide fame and prominence, before it suffered a musical slump in the Nineties, then came back strong in 1999 after John Medeski produced Buck Jump, capturing the group at its innovative best.

These days you can find the Dirty Dozen Brass Band joining forces with the likes of Widespread Panic, DJ Logic, and Modest Mouse onstage and on disc. And with its tenth and latest release, Funeral for a Friend, the Dirty Dozen is back to its roots and the brass band sound of the streets. -- John Anderson

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band performs at 8:00 p.m. Thursday, June 3, at the Coral Gables Congregational Church, 3010 De Soto Blvd, Coral Gables. Tickets range from $20. Call 305-448-7421.

Bersuit

"Argentineans always pretend to be something they're not. We love to brag, and that, at times, is fascinating, but we're trying to give the matter a deeper look without sacrificing a gram of irony," offers Gustavo Cordera, lead singer and main songwriter in the powerful octet Bersuit. The Argie band breezed through Miami last November to co-headline with Charly García at the Rock in Miami Festival that drew thousands of people, and it is now coming back to town in support of its blockbuster album Argentinidad Al Palo. Thanks to the CD, the group's street cred has skyrocketed, putting the band on top of the live show biz in Argentina and securing it a slot as one of the best-paid rock groups in the country. It took them more than fifteen years to reach that peak, and they deserve their piece of the cake. You're also invited to have some this weekend. -- Javier Andrade

Bersuit performs at midnight Saturday, June 5, at El Grill at Bayside Hut, 3501 Rickenbacker Cswy, Key Biscayne. Tickets range from $15 to $20. Call 305-361-0808.

The Darkness

Admit it. Are you one of the many who writhe around on the floor in guilty delight every time you hear "I Believe in a Thing Called Love?"

Yeah, we thought so.

The boys who penned such hits as "Love on the Rocks with No Ice" and "Get Your Hands off My Woman" bring their rock and roll circus to South Florida. A little bit like AC/DC with the jazzercise talents of David Lee Roth, the Darkness has carried the torch for arena rock. The unmistakable vocal stylings of Justin Hawkins can be best described as Julia Child on the receiving end of a mean titty twister and are truly something to be seen.

Who would've thought cutaway spandex catsuits, elfin good looks, and bulbous Freddie Mercury-size choppers could be so inherently sexy?

Indeed, they are. If you're lost on the Darkness, then the joke's on you. -- Terra Sullivan

The Darkness and the Wildhearts perform at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, June 6, at Mizner Park Amphitheater, 590 Plaza Real, Boca Raton. Tickets cost $24. Call 561-966-3309.


The Porter Project
The Porter Project (Kriztal)

Cole Porter was a twentieth-century giant of a composer, penning classics that have been covered by everyone from jazz legend Sarah Vaughan to bossa nova star Sergio Mendes. So it was probably only a matter of time before an electronic reworking of Porter's songs appeared, especially these days where just about everything gets a similar treatment.

The Porter Project is the work of local producer/musician Billy Paul Williams, who displayed his jazzy sensibilities on the 2003 release Miles to Go. Williams employs real musicians on trumpet, violin, guitar, and vocals, which he filters to give it that muted, old-time microphone feel, like a trumpet played through a plunger. It's a nice touch. The tunes are more Porter-inspired remixes than full-on cover versions, and the vocals -- by Nicole Yarling, Williams himself, and others -- tend to consist of just a chorus. The effect can be a little jarring, as the groove sometimes gets put on pause while the singer delivers the words. But it's Porter, so even a single line from his lyrics is heady stuff.

There are a few forgettable tunes, especially on the latter half of The Porter Project. But overall, it's well-produced downtempo lounge with a number of exceptional tracks. "Love for Sale" and "Miss Otis Regrets" are particularly infectious. -- John Anderson

 
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