(originally posted on Wednesday, February 18, 2009)
As a fan of many different kinds of music, last year I was on a quest for the perfect Andrews Sisters compilation. While on this quest I found a Puppini Sisters album displayed next to an Andrews Sisters album in an "if you like blank try blank" display at Borders. Seeing track titles like "It Don't Mean a Thing" and "Walk Like an Egyptian" side by side intrigued me, so I decided to give them a try, and on the drive home I became a fan before the first track finished. Within a day I ordered their other album from Amazon and felt rather pleased with this new discovery I'd made.
Well, last night, I had the distinct pleasure of seeing their live show, and I recommend to anyone: check their tour dates and go see them. Whether you're familiar with their music or not, I think it's impossible to not have a good time at a Puppini Sisters show.
As you may have guessed, they have a style similar to that of the Andrews Sisters, but they are far from a mere tribute band. Their repertoire consists of some standards from the 30s and 40s (many of which were performed by the Andrews themselves); covers of modern pop, rock and punk songs; and original material. Hearing songs like Kate Bush's "Wuthering Heights', Blondie's "Heart of Glass" and Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" in swing style is like hearing them again for the first time.
But then, there's their live show: high energy, full of humor and just a joy to watch. Backed up by guitar, drums and a plucked bass violin, the girls are musicians in their own rights with Marcella on accordion, Stephanie on violin and Kate on melodica. (Kate also plays toy piano on their albums, but didn't have it at the show last night, maybe next time...) And it wasn't all swing either, each girl did solo numbers that distinguished themselves from the swing style and each other.
I had the unique privilege of sitting in an otherwise empty front row (a situation that still baffles me), so lucky John got picked pretty much every time one of the girls needed and audience member to sing to. At one moment during "I Will Survive" I was even treated to my own personal serenade by all three.
After the show, the girls did a signing session and they are just as bright and pleasant and funny up close as they are onstage. By this point, they were all calling me Mr. First Row and Kate anointed me with a kiss on both cheeks.
Now, of course, not everyone is going to get quite the same personalized experience I did, but let me assure you, it was clear that everyone in the house had a great time, and that includes the ones whose mutterings indicated they didn't know what they were in for when they came.
So, by all means, check out their tour dates at their website or their myspace page and go! And for God's sake, sit up front! (Unless you see me there, then give me some space.;) )