Egg Yolk Jubilee

Oktoberfest in Algiers

October 08, 2005

It was a sunny afternoon. The food was free and so was the beer at the neighborhood-organized Oktoberfest in Algiers Saturday. A few kids scampered around while young and old sat on lawn chairs and talked about whatever. On a triangular piece of green land that served as a neutral ground between two distant streets, it seemed like the storm never happened. It was a sheltered moment, for sure, but a good one, nonetheless.

And, the icing on the cake was an excellent band I hadn't seen for years--Egg Yolk Jubilee. The six trashy jazz troubadours from New Orleans brought along a waterlogged guitar amp that somehow sprung to life with the help of an extension cord running to a nearby house.

Midway through their set, a band member said, "It's OK to dance." Sure, it was, but it was gonna take a lot of aural massaging to do so. People wanted to dance. I could see it in their eyes. They dug the music. And what wasn't there to dig? A band with a reverence for Dixieland and an irreverence for everything else, including a taboo subject like incest? Sounds like New Orleans to me. So, the people should have been boogeying, right? Not exactly. I, at least, wasn't dancing because it just didn't seem right to, considering everything. In time for everyone. In time.

The group played a creepy version of "St. James Infirmary." The song was unsettling because of the storm and because the trumpeter and the sousaphonist marched in a funeral-like procession away from the rest of the band during their solos. That's not to say everything concerning the performance was serious, though. As the procession headed back through the food and drink section, the band member on the mic told the other two to pick him up a beer.

The band was great for what everyone needed: some brass sounds to make people feel like they were in New Orleans again. They were a little rusty, but their mixture of dirges and punk-paced songs was appreciated. The band used a trickbag of genres. Since their sound is relatively unique, they have no genre umbrella to make their music fit underneath. I say "relatively unique" because Egg Yolk Jubilee is obviously a follower of Dixieland jazz and Tom Waits. Their modern, local contemporaries are Schatzy, Alex McMurray, Morning 40 Federation, and the disbanded Royal Fingerbowl. Jazz vs. rock vs. sleazy folk. Yummy.

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