Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Concert review: Glen David Andrews disappoints at the Dakota

When: Thursday, March 3, 2011 • Where: DakotaWho: Glen David Andrews, trombone and vocals; Kyle Roussel, keyboards; Barry Stevens, bass; Jermal Watson, drums; Eric Gardner, trumpet; and area musicians including Dan Eikmeier on trumpet and Darren Sterud on trombone, both members of Davina and the Vagabonds

GDA, Dan Eikmeier, Eric Gardner: Huh?
If you’ve been here before, you know that I very rarely write negative reviews. Time is short, and there are too many enjoyable, enlightening shows to write about. But Glen David Andrews surprised me last Thursday, and not in a good way.

I first saw Andrews last July, when he played for the Dakota Street Fest. Driven indoors by a sudden thunderstorm, he burned the house down. He was fantastic, a consummate entertainer. Here’s a review

No wonder the Dakota brought him back; no wonder I showed up for the Thursday show. Wish I’d gone on Wednesday instead. According to people I’ve talked with who were there, and Strib writer Jon Bream’s blog posting, Wednesday’s show was a party. (Bream’s only cavil was that Glen David Andrews needs to find a better, more memorable stage name, like his cousin Troy Andrews, aka Trombone Shorty, did.)

Thursday never quite pulled together. Maybe it’s because Thursday had an opening act, Davina and the Vagabonds, and that messed with Andrews’ flow. (I’m not complaining about Davina and her group; they were terrific, if a bit ear-splitting.) Maybe Thursday’s crowd was different, not so willing to wave white napkins or scream on command or second-line around the club. Or maybe Andrews was simply off his game.

There were a few very satisfying moments. Like “On the Sunny Side of the Street,” the opener, sung Louis Armstrong-style. With Andrews, a song’s actual lyrics are mere suggestions, a frame on which he hangs pop culture references and whatever else comes into his head: “I’ll be as rich as Oprah, as rich as Lady Gaga….” So it’s fun to hear what he’ll invent next. And he gave a spine-tingling performance of “The Old Rugged Cross,” walking through the club (upstairs and down) without a mic, accompanied only by Kyle Roussel on Hammond B-3, alternately growling and singing falsetto. The man can sing gospel, no doubt.

GDA on a table
The rest of the evening seemed like a combination of the same three songs (“When the Saints,” “Rock Star,” snippets of “Minnie the Moocher”), exhortations to the crowd (“Somebody scream!” “Everybody go crazy” “Make some noise!” “I don’t know where you think you at, but you better get your ass UP!”), and language seldom heard on the Dakota stage (“Sing that s***!” “I did not come here to f*** around!”). He stood on tables. He did a James Brown thing with the mic, and an Al Greene thing with “Let’s Stay Together,” which he insisted on making a sing-along. He turned “When the Saints” into a drawn-out tale about how drunk he was for how long after the Superbowl. He walked through the club again, this time with his trombone, which he played very little over the course of the evening. And once, after getting the crowd to repeat something he’d said, he boasted, “You will say anything I tell you! That’s the quality of a great entertainer!” Hey, thanks for making us feel like chumps.

We stayed through the first set but left before the second. Even great stars have not-so-great nights, which I totally understand. But this went beyond not-so-great to borderline train wreck. Let’s hope the next time Andrews comes through town—which he probably will, given the Dakota’s affection for the music of New Orleans, and Andrews' charisma and reputation as a crowd-pleaser—that he brings the party back.

Photos by John Whiting.


  1. I m very offended at you comments,over 50 comments on my web an facebook saying how great the show was,an im always on my game.We musicians gave a great show the owner ,staff an everyone who bought my cd over 100 people enjoyed the show but you.You were offended I acknowledge Ms.Thersa Crushon because you 2 have a personal grip,well thats not fair to me.Thanks to everyone over 300 people who enjoyed thank you ,Look forward to coming back soon.As for negative people an comments we dont entertain unfair comments.I m a professional,an very humble guy ,an very hurt an offoended.Red Beans an ricly yours Glen David Andrews

  2. I was not at that show, but have been at many, many Glen David Andrews shows and have NEVER seen an audience leave disappointed- I have seen a LOT of comments from people on FB that loved the show. I don't really want to post anonymously, my name is Maureen Rice, but I cannot figure out how to get my comment posted with my name and url. I may be tech-challenged, but I am not musically challenged, and will just repeat, GDA is one of the most exciting performers out there.

  3. My job is to write about what I see, hear, and experience. You gave an awesome performance at the Dakota last July, which I wrote about here: . I don't have a personal gripe with Theresa Crushon. She and I have never met. And I wasn't at all offended when you acknowledged her. Actually, I'm happy when any writer/reviewer is graciously acknowledged by a performer.


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