On Saturday, July 18, SOhO hosted one of the most unique and exhilarating performances of the year — Vaud and the Villains, a 19-piece 1930s New Orleans-style orchestra and cabaret. The band, aptly referring to themselves as “American Noir Meets Moulin Rouge” put on a sensational show with elaborately costumed dancers, powerhouse vocals, and swinging music. At $15 for tickets, that’s a lot of bang for your buck — it’s certainly cheaper than a trip to Louisiana or a time machine.
The band kicked off their first song around 9:30 p.m. while showgoers shuffled in. Though the dance floor was sparse, the chairs lined up around the perimeter were all taken. At first, fans seemed unsure whether to stand or sit for the duration of the performance, so many hung back near the walls. By halfway through the first song, though, the band made their intentions clear — we should be dancing. Roxy Rae, one of the band’s three lead female vocalists, crooned soulfully into the mic while trombones blared behind her, and the crowd pushed forward. This was a band with spunk, and their spirit was contagious. Vaud Overstreet, bandleader and tenor saxophonist, conveyed the group’s aim early on the set, “Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future…but tonight, we are going to save your souls.”
During the band’s third song, three female dancers dressed in matching corsets, fishnets, and feathers strutted out onto the three platforms in front of the stage to perform in tandem with the band. By song four, everyone in the audience was on their feet dancing the night away in true New Orleans fashion.
The theatrical elements the band infused into their show is what made the night unforgettable – elaborately costumed and choreographed dancers, narration on sin and souls given by Vaud to the audience, and detailed fictional characterization of each “Villain,” or band member, created a whimsical culture within the walls of SOhO that the audience adored. Combined with the bountiful number of instrumental solos, including an impressive one string guitar and a banjo solo, and the dynamic vocals of Lucky Lafontaine, the show was captivating both visually and musically. Next time Vaud and the Villains roll into town, make sure you’re there to see them – these marauders never stay in one place too long, and this is a show you do not want to miss.