Quite a few bands from New Orleans come through Michigan on tour, and if the Subdudes have gotten lost in the shuffle for you, be advised that they don’t sound like any of the others. Their starting point was probably the 1970s New Orleans R&B of Allen Toussaint, but they don’t even sound much like him. Their sound is stripped down, more acoustic than not, awesomely funky — and often all about the songs. They’re extended, complex constructions, some of which turn into little portraits of New Orleans life. But the basic rhythmic appeal is never lost, and that’s due to the drumming of Steve Amedee –mostly just tambourine and kick drum — and the acoustic guitar of Tommy Malone, which shows that no amplification is necessary to penetrate the layers of New Orleans groove.
And if that’s not enough of an endorsement . . . Governor Granholm was at the ‘Dudes Ark show on December 14. She stayed for the whole thing, encores and all, and was clearly transfixed.
–James M. Manheim<>