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The Rocky Mountain Collegian

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The Squirrel Nut Zippers swing by the Lincoln Center

The Squirrel Nut Zippers were the last weird people in the free world to be allowed to have a platinum record, founding member Jimbo Mathus said to the crowd.

The Squirrel Nut Zippers stopped by the Lincoln Center on Sunday, Jan. 15 for a performance celebrating the 20th anniversary of their platinum album “Hot.”


The reactivated line up included Ingrid Lucia of The Flying Neutrinos along with other New Orleans musicians. New Orleans, founded on piracy, prostitution and alcohol as Mathus joked, has helped to form the band.

Forming in 1993, the band’s sound includes many different genres including swing, gypsy jazz, Delta Blues, Calypso and klezmer and the reactivated line up flawlessly embodied the band’s original eclectic sound.

The Zippers not only played from “Hot” but played from “Perennial Favorites” “Bedlam Ballroom” and “The Inevitable Squirrel Nut Zippers,” along with a couple of new songs. Split into two acts, the band started out playing classics like “Put a Lid on it” and “Blue Angel.” After allowing the audience a brief break to buy more alcohol, as Mathis explained, the band came back to play three new songs as well as crowd-favorite “Bedlam Ballroom.”

The crowd was seated but was very entertained by the band’s stage presence. Dressed in quirky 1920s style, the danced effortlessly throwing around their instruments around. Without any elaborate backdrop or lights, the band entertained with their talent and showmanship and impressed the crowd with their musical talent. The group played many instruments, and played them well, including the saxophone, trombone, banjo, fiddle, stand-up bass and trumpet. Lucia’s wide vocal range and 1920s-style voice were a striking addition.

The Squirrel Nut Zippers tour to celebrate the 20th anniversary of "Hot."

“Hot” catapulted the band into fame. Released in 1996, “Hot” sold over 1.3 million copies. When fame hit, the band had trouble adjusting. The band bought limousines expecting the people in suits to pick up the bill but realized that the Zippers were in fact picking up the bill, Mathis joked to the crowd before playing “Suits Are Picking Up the Bill.”

When the band played “Ghost of Stephen Foster” there was a projection of the music video with a black and white cartoon of a couple staying in a haunted hotel. This was a fun addition to the set.

The crowd was seated during the show; however, the music was too catchy for some and they migrated to the aisles where they could swing dance to the music.

After the show a long line of fans stood in line to meet the Zippers and get their autographs.

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