John “JoJo” Hermann knows how to travel while performing with his Slim Wednesday bandmates.
“Onstage I close my eyes and I am in New Orleans,” he said.
Hermann and the other Nashville, Tennessee-based members of Slim Wednesday are bringing a Mardi Gras type of celebration to the Pink Garter Theatre on Saturday. The atmosphere they create is similar to that of a crawfish boil, filled with music, dancing and “Nashville funk.”
Originally called The Mardi Gras Band, due to its over-the-top celebratory style of performance, Slim Wednesday consists of six members: Hermann on keyboard and vocals, Jonathan Jackson on saxophone and vocals, Ben Clark on trumpet, Kevin “Big Kev” Mabin on drums, Greg Bryant on bass and Bill Elder, a native of New Orleans, on guitar and vocals.
The band will perform songs from its first album, “Reptile Show,” and some covers. In the past it has covered songs by New Orleans artists such as Professor Longhair and The Meters. No matter which songs the musicians choose, it is safe to say the band will be grooving to the beat. The drum keeps a steady rhythm while the trumpet, guitar, bass, saxophone and keys intermix melodies. Elder’s voice cuts through the instruments, which weave the sounds together.
Though you can listen to Slim Wednesday’s songs online, the band’s live shows are an opportunity to hear spontaneous musical improvisations.
“It is like having a conversation with the guys on the stage,” Hermann said.
The members of Slim Wednesday met in Nashville and collaborated to create the songs that make up “Reptile Show.” The album title was inspired by literal reptile shows that travel around to showcase the creatures. Each member of the band brings his personality and instrumental background to create the rhythms that make people want to get up and dance.
“It ain’t nothing but a party, a celebration of New Orleans music,” Hermann said.
Hermann, also known for his involvement in the American rock band Widespread Panic, said the band’s goal is to bring a slice of the New Orleans jazz scene out West.
“If we don’t sound like a New Orleans band, then let’s not do it,” Hermann said. ￼