Washington City Paper – “Let’s Have a Pancake” review and concert preview

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Claiming to be “our nation’s only alternative Dixieland band”-but wont to fly off the handle when someone dares call the group “zany”-Boston’s eight-piece Chandler Travis Philharmonic takes great pride in stuffing as many musical genres (swing, Mexicali rock, country, pop) and as many different instruments (mandocello, string bass, keyboards, trombone) as it can muster into each and every one of its cheeky tunes. On the new Let’s Have a Pancake!, a boozy ragtime version of “Hello Dolly” segues into rowdy roots-rock stomper “Stay Like That,” which is followed by the stardust tinkling of the Elvis Costello-esque “What’ll It Be.” Although bandleader Travis hams it up with a nasally Ray Davies croon, the group manages to hover just north of novelty thanks to surprisingly tight musicianship: Cross-dressing drummer Rikki Bates is capable of adeptly shifting percussive gears at any moment, and the June Trailer Dancers-that would be the horn section-are the energetic engine that makes this patchwork jalopy cruise. The group that claims to put “the ‘harm’ back in ‘philharmonic'” also plays a shout-out number called “Chandler Travis, King of the World”-which, I note at the risk of getting my ass kicked, is undeniably zany. But, you know, in a good way. The Chandler Travis Philharmonic plays with Last Train Home at 9:30 p.m. Friday, April 13, at IOTA, 2832 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. $9. (703) 522-8340. (Sean Daly)

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Washington City Paper – “Let’s Have a Pancake” review and concert preview