Trombone Shorty at Belly Up Tavern: Night 2

When a big name comes to the intimate venue of San Diego's Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach, regulars expect that the 'SOLD OUT' sign on to be taped to the Will Call window equally as much as they expect alcohol to be served there. It's a given. However, a sold out sign taped to the window for all three consecutive appearances of a band is a rare feat. Some would call it a hat trick; others would call it Trombone Shorty and his Orleans Avenue band. No photography was allowed the night of January 22nd at the erquest of the band, so the following coverage was done by iPhone.

Some would call it a hat trick; others would call it Trombone Shorty and his Orleans Avenue band.

Big band, funk and jazz – what's more to love? Starting out Night Two at the Belly Up was New Breed Brass Band, straight out of New Orleans! Naturally, the spirit of LA emanated from this ensemble, with two standing percussionists and a tuba to round out the standard trombone, saxophone and trumpet. Attendees in the audience clapped and shouted along with the band like they were on Bourbon Street.

With energy high, New Breed left the stage for Trombone Shorty and his wildly entertaining crew to enter. The Orleans Avenue Band came on first, accompanied by strobe light beams flying all around the stage. Trombone Shorty came on all smiles, stoked to perform the second night in San Diego. Launching immediately into his explosive set, Trombone Shorty sang and danced and let his players do their thing as he stood back approvingly. Everybody had their moment onstage! The seven-string bassist, adorning a top hat, melted minds during his solos and the goofy saxophonist, repping funky joggers and round spectacles, grabbed the mic for his rendition of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' “Give It Away”.

The band bounced between well-known classics, improvisations and love ballads…

The band bounced between well-known classics, improvisations and love ballads, like the favorite “Show Me Something Beautiful”. At several points throughout the set, Trombone Shorty would conduct his crew like an orchestral leader, signaling the beat and when to breakdown. The audience quickly took notice and started clapping along, making Trombone Shorty turn around and laugh. What solid support!

Speaking of, two of the best things about a Trombone Shorty show is the audience participation and the camaraderie. The players love performing and you can see that visibily in the way they laugh and interact with each other as they go. Plus, Trombone Shorty makes sure concertgoers have their spotlight, holding out the mic for them to sing and zigzagging around every inch of the stage to give them high fives and knuckles.

Before we knew it, the show was over… but even Trombone Shorty admitted he wasn't ready to go yet! The players left the stage and returned in under a minute for the encore, they were that excited to keep playing. Most bands take minutes before reappearing. Not Trombone Shorty. The vibe was too high to let fall. As the crowd dispersed into the night after the encore inevitably ended, the Belly Up emptied to rally for Night Three.

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