Mobile is a place where locals love to mingle philanthropy with festivity. Most fundraisers held in the Azalea City are not only truly beneficial to whatever organizations they support, but also excellent excuses to have great parties.
O’Daly’s Irish Pub is gearing up for a daylong charity event full of fun times and excellent sounds. A portion of the proceeds from this event will go to Ronald McDonald House, which offers lodging for families with children who have serious medical issues requiring hospitalization — some times for weeks or months — outside their own hometown.
Run Your Stache off will also donate a portion of the event’s proceeds to the unique MOvember Foundation. Each November, the MOvember Foundation encourages men (and women) around the world to lay aside their razor and allow their upper lip to burst forth with bristles. All money generated by MOvember teams go to funding programs to raising awareness of men’s issues ranging from cancer to mental illness. In true MOvember style, O’Daly’s will become MO’Daly’s.
Run Your Stache Off will begin with the Richard Pendergast Memorial 5K Run. After the crowd catches its breath, a “Best Moustache” contest will follow with a cavalcade of bristly upper lips vying for first prize. Next, Mobile’s best beanbag flingers will compete in a Cornhole tournament. The event will reach an apex with a raucous performance from the iconic Dirty Dozen Brass Band.
Thirty-seven years ago, Dirty Dozen Brass Band emerged from the streets of the Big Easy and set a new standard in the New Orleans brass scene. This ensemble added an eclectic element to the genre by incorporating musical elements from styles ranging from blues to afro-beat. Over the years, this group has managed to keep its music relevant and gather new fans in each new generation. Founding members such as Roger Lewis (baritone/soprano sax) remain amazed they have been able to continue their musical legacy and still pack venues nationwide. Lewis cites the energy created by their sound as the driving force behind the band’s success.
“I guess we keep reinventing ourselves,” Lewis said. “We’re always trying to be creative. There’s just a certain chemistry that we have among ourselves.”
Lewis’ fellow founding members Kirk Joseph (sousaphone), Efrem Towns (trumpet/flugelhorn), Kevin Harris (saxophone) and Gregory Davis (trumpet) have also enjoyed exposing their musical legacy to the younger members such as guitarist Jake Eckert and drummer Terence Higgins. Many would think these new-schoolers would be anxious to bring more modern influences into the group’s sound. However, Lewis claims it is quite the opposite.
“They bring a different energy,” Lewis said. “They try to get the energy that we have. A lot of the music that we’ve played in the past, they never had the opportunity to play that music. It’s new to them, and they really want to play the old music that we’ve recorded in the past. They get all excited, and it’s really an experience for them.”
Dirty Dozen Brass Band’s latest effort is “Twenty Dozen.” The group looked to the past for this album’s creation and brought in Scott Billington to act as producer. He also produced their 1989 album “Voodoo.”
Billington, a Grammy Award winning producer is well-versed in the various NOLA sounds, and Lewis explained Dirty Dozen almost considers him an unofficial member. Billington has a habit of pushing the group to its limits and creating the best possible sounds, Lewis says. This driving force always results in a flawless end product.
Dirty Dozen Brass Band maintains a reputation for thinking outside the box with “Twenty Dozen.” The creation of this album was definitely a group effort with several members bringing in their own compositions and arrangement ideas into recording sessions.
This ensemble continues to mingle a plethora of musical styles throughout the album’s tracks. This is evident from the lead track “Tomorrow,” which mixes a bouncing Caribbean beat with an energized jazz sound. This vibe is present throughout a majority of the album, but they do give their listeners a healthy taste of traditional NOLA sounds with “Paul Barbarin’s Second Line” and their rendition of the brass standard “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Dirty Dozen Brass Band also takes on some surprising covers on “Twenty Dozen.” Rihanna’s “Don’t Stop the Music” gets a Big Easy makeover. They also perform a slow blues version of The Rolling Stones song “Paint It Black.”
“We like to slide into other territories than jazz, blues and gospel,” Lewis said. “We always try to stay current to what’s going on in the music world.”
For those wanting a new taste of old school Dirty Dozen, the band also offers a re-mastered version of their breakout album “My Feet Can’t Fail Me Now.” Seasoned fans have a chance to relive the glory of this album, and newcomers to the Dirty Dozen sound have a chance to see where it all started. According to Lewis, the re-release of this album has been embraced by the newer generation of fans.
“A lot of the younger folks into Dirty Dozen probably haven’t had the experience of that music,” Lewis explained. “You have to realize that we’ve been together 37 years. Our audience is a younger audience now that hasn’t been exposed to all of Dirty Dozen’s music. It’s new to them.”
Dirty Dozen Brass Band will end 2013 with a New Year’s Eve performance with Jason Isbell in Charlottesville, Va. While that may seem odd to some, this group has developed a reputation for their off-beat collaborations. Musical acts ranging from the The Black Crowes to Modest Mouse have recruited Dirty Dozen to lend their brass sound to their songs, and it is yet another aspect of this band that makes them truly one-of-a-kind. When asked about future collaboration, Lewis expressed an interest in working with Wynton and Delfeayo Marsalis as well as some more offbeat musical acts.
“I’d like to work some of these younger generation people,” Lewis said. “I’d like to do something with Lady Gaga, and I’d like to work with Snoop Dogg. I think that would be very interesting.”
Band: Run Your Stache Off After-Party feat. Dirty Dozen Brass Band
Date: Sat., Nov. 23 with race at 4 p.m. and after-party at 9 p.m.
Venue: O’Daly’s Irish Pub, 564 Dauphin St., www.odalys.com
Tickets: $10 at the door/Free to racers