When Bonerama struts onstage with its four-trombone frontline, you can guess it's not quite like any rock 'n' roll band you've seen. When they tear into some vintage New Orleans funk, there's no questioning from which city these guys hail. And when those 'bones start ripping into Hendrix and Led Zeppelin licks, all stylistic bets are off.
Bonerama carries the brass-band concept to places unknown. Hailed by Rolling Stone's David Fricke as "The ultimate in brass balls," last Fall the band served as the House Band for the live all-star comedy event COMIC RELIEF. The 2006 event, which featured a long list of A-talent including hosts Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg and Robin Williams, was recorded live from Ceasar's Palace last November. Recently, Bonerama snagged the coveted "Best Rock Band" honor from the 2007 Big Easy Awards.
Since live performance is what Bonerama is all about, it's no coincidence that their third album, Bringing It Home, is also their third consecutive live disc. It also testifies to the amount of tightening-up the band's done in recent years. Joining another stack of Bonerama originals are covers ranging from the Meters and George Porter Jr. to the Beatles (two from the White Album, no less) to Thelonious Monk. And when they take on Led Zeppelin's "The Ocean" – with trombones doing the familiar backing vocals along with the big guitar riff – you can practically hear the audience's jaws dropping.
The current list of confirmed Bonerama tour dates is as follows:
July 13 Martyr's Chicago IL
July 14 Bastille Days Festival Milwaukee WI
July 18-19 Broadway Oyster Bar St. Louis MO
July 20 Iowa City Yacht Club Iowa City IA
July 21 Sioux Falls Jazz & Blues Festival Sioux Falls SD
July 22 Vaudeville Mews Des Moines IA
July 25 The Blue Gator Athens OH
July 26 Peaches Grill Yellow Springs OH
July 27 The Livery Benton Harbor MI
July 28 Beaches International Festival Toronto Ontario
August 02 Panama City Beach Concert Series Panama City Beach FL
August 03 MOJO Kitchen Jacksonville Beach FL
August 04 The Bamboo Room Lake Worth FL
August 05 The Green Parrot Key West FL
August 09 Gottrocks Greenville SC
August 10 Visulite Theatre Charlotte NC
August 11 Paetec Jazz Festival Baltimore Baltimore NY
August 25 Mid City Lanes New Orleans LA
September 08 Hot Springs Jazz Festival Hot Springs AR
September 16 Telluride Blues & Brews Festival Telluride CO
September 21 Monterey Jazz Festival Monterey CA
September 22 The Crystal Bay Club Crystal Bay NV
October 06 Private Party New Orleans LA
October 07 Gretna Heritage Festival Gretna LA
October 27 Voodoo Music Experience New Orleans LA
More dates will be announced.
Even in a city that doesn't play by the rules, New Orleans' Bonerama is something different. They're not a traditional brass band, but they've got brass to spare—even with no trumpets or saxes in sight. Bonerama features a dizzying display of trombone talent; four trombones, to be exact. Band leaders Mark Mullins and Craig Klein (of Harry Connick's band) shelf any jazz subtlety for Bonerama, opting instead for heavy funk, rock 'n' roll, and pure horn muscle. Mullins and Klein are joined by fellow boners Steve Suter and Rick Trolsen, imaginative and dynamic sousaphone player Matt Perrine and edgy experimental guitarist Bert Cotton. The band also features a rotating cast of New Orleans ' finest drummers, including Russell Batiste, Stanton Moore, Eric Bolivar, and Terence Higgins.