The Zydepunks

The Dragon's Den

April 20, 2004

I guess having "punks" in your band name turns out the tattoed, pierced and leathery crowd. For The Zydepunks concert at The Dragon's Den Tuesday night, the city's underbelly represented. They made the concert really fun. I don't think I've felt such a jubilant atmosphere surrounding the Dragon's Den before.

It makes sense, though, as local band The Zydepunks played dance music, whether it was Cajun, Klezmer, Irish, or Middle Eastern. Vocalist/fiddler/accordion player Bwamba Chavez led the band, and he was accompanied by drummer Joe Lilly, vocalist/accordion player Eve Venema, and fiddler Joe McGinty.

Their schtick was that they played Zydeco music at a punk tempo, but they could just as easily play a jig or a waltz. There was no way to tell what the next song would sound like. They played traditional music from the areas or cultures listed, but Chavez threw in a few of his own beautiful numbers. He liked to sing in French. And he liked to scream, too. Though each member of the band performed well, Lilly was their backbone. He had a small kit, and he played with fag sticks. His playing style was elemental, and he kept the songs jumpin' and swingin' with his frequent marching band beats.

The band didn't speak much, but the crowd didn't need their O.K. to dance in circles. The Zydepunks' genre-defying diversity was astounding considering the very short breaks between songs. They were turning it out, and they asked who wanted more. Of course, a rumble went through the room, but I was tired, so I left.

The band was great, the crowd was great. To get your hoe-down on, go see these maestros.

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