Vaud and the Villains
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Vaud and the Villains

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"British American Project 2008"

My hopes for America lie less in Obama- mania, more in Vaud and the Villains

Long before I became a journalist I taught myself to absorb the essence of an unfamiliar city by staying alert in the taxi from the airport: Los Angeles offers a particularly vivid first encounter....I think it’s ill-mannered of Brits in our party who have succumbed to Obama-mania to keep telling our hosts what a relief it is that ‘it’s OK to love America again’. We should always love America, not for its leaders — who generally turn out as disappointing as our own — but for its vitality, its collective belief in the possibility of renewal, its vast anthology of personal stories. The perfect metaphor for the America it’s impossible to dislike is on stage at the down-at-heel Fais Do-Do nightclub off La Brea Avenue. It’s called Vaud and the Villains, it’s an 18-piece band plus Burlesque dancers, and we like them all so much we book them to play in our suffocatingly bland conference hotel, where they blow the roof off with a unique New Orleans-gospel-soul mix officially described as ‘what rock ’n’ roll would sound like if they played it back in the Thirties’. A Democrat lawyer en route to the White House transition team is heard to mutter, while watching the dancers: ‘Now I know what Dr King meant when he said he had a dream.’ Among the line-up is a gravel-voiced, heavily tattooed chanteuse who’s in rehab; a dancer who’s a bit-part soap-actress single mother; a tiny, smiling man in a pork-pie hat, Filipino perhaps, with a voice as big as Pavarotti’s; and a black lead singer with the loose-limbed elegance and energy of — yes, him again — Barack Obama. I’m not easily swayed by the emotion of the crowd, but I have to tell you, as one New Yorker grabs the mike to declare, ‘I feel the lurve,’ Vaud and the Villains give me hope for America. Catch them this Saturday and next at El Cid on Sunset Boulevard.

- Spectator.uk


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We are heavily influenced by all things New Orleans. We are the American songbook, spirituals, working man's music, backroom slow drag, a throwback to barrelhouse blues of the early 20th Century. We are a broadly appealing and even theatrical act, highly stylized with a big showmanship meter. We dress in 1930s attire and we have choreographed dancers to certain tunes. It's a totally sellable and winning event kind of night.