Iris May Tango

Blaine Kern's Mardi Gras World

December 31, 2003

Iris May Tango are back to their old selves.

The funk/rock/jazz/hip-hop band lost swagger and were on auto-pilot for the last year or so, but on New Year’s Eve, they made me believe they were the same band of old. For the first time in a while it looked like they believed in themselves.

The group was advertised to play into the “wee hours of the morning,” which I thought would be until 4 or 5, as I’ve seen Rebirth and George Clinton do numerous times. Unfortunately, the band was winding down its set with “Hippobotamus” when I arrived at 2. So much of the band’s energy could be attributed to drummer Kevin O’Day, and his drum solo mid-song reminded me he has the nastiest snare roll in New Orleans.

Everyone wanted more when the set was done. The revelers floated around the room in an after-sex daze and eventually made their way past the row of floats to the door.

For their French Quarter Fest appearance on Sunday afternoon at the Hibernia Pavilion, Iris May Tango were determined to show the masses they're still the best band in New Orleans if they want to be. "Go out and tell everyone what you've seen here," vocalist Yours Truly Chaddy 1 P.U.S. boasted before the set. And, sure enough, this was one of their better shows. Chaddy and vocalist/D.J. Keng were jumping on top of each other and cutting up like old times. Saxophonist Rob Wagner wowed the crowd with a solo, but he went beyond the call of duty when he added sparkly, twilight synthesizer sounds to the Latin song "Into the Night."

Alex McMurray filled in for guitarist Rene Dufourc, who left the band for a permanent vacation in France. Hopefully, McMurray will be a permanent addition. Though he understandably looked confused numerous times, McMurray did a good job, and he added to the band's energy by smiling and jumping around. There was a great moment during the sludgy hard rock breakdown in "Silence Pilanzo" when McMurray had a surprised look on his face that said, "Cool, we're just gonna rock out hard now."

The band played "Take It Easy," "Stuck Like Chuck," Spin," "Hairdo," "Keep It Going Now," and others. The band slipped up a few times. Even though the band is great when they come out every couple months, they need to get tight again and release an album or just call it quits. I hate to say it, but it's arrested development, guys. Cheers to the future.

P.S. The most reliable and under-appreciated guy in the band is bassist Andy Wolf.


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