I had the pleasure of interviewing Squirrel Nut Zippers’ main man, Jimbo Mathus, prior to his show at the vacation destination of Door County in Northern Wisconsin. I asked the question about shows in resort areas or vacation spots and if it were different than a straight SNZ show – he replied that the crowd doesn’t matter the Zippers just put on their show – and that they did.
A crowd who’s average age was probably 20-25+ years past the ‘average’ SNZ fan sure made for an interesting room, I am guessing the auditorium sells season tickets and some of these folks just love music and art and come to check out ‘what’s in town’. The room itself is impressive, an old barn like feel, but modern in it’s amenities and quality sound and site lines.
The show, as are most SNZ shows, was a hoot. A set list that hit all of the classics from ‘The Suits Are Picking Up the Bill’ to ‘Put a Lid On It’ and of course the ‘hit’ ‘Hell (they teased all night of doing a medley of their ‘hit’). The banter was fun; jokes about Wisconsin, campaign finance, and Jimbo’s recent check up with Dr. Sick (the multi instrumentalist and singer with SNZ). The polite crowd laughed, applauded after each and every solo and bobbed their head along to the infectious music….BUT it took Jimbo finally giving folks permission to ‘get up in the aisles and dance!’ that a few folks took the lead and gave this music what it really needs – feet moving!
The band Jimbo has assembled for this revival of SNZ is all pro, sharp players that fit this ‘antique punk’ style of jazz that the Zippers are known for. The new tunes are still in that mold and bring that vibe that is undeniably SNZ. With that energy this show just didnt end, the Zippers took it to the lobby, seriously – grabbing their instruments, playing their way through the crowd and right out to the lobby where they greeted fans and created a perfect end to a swinging evening.