red lights

Concert Livewire
basement tapes concert reviews cd reviews interviewsticket swap music news

The Brian Setzer Orchestra
spreading cheer with a magical conductor
and his big band of elves

The Brian Setzer Orchestra/ Low Volts
F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts
Wilkes-Barre, PA
November 25, 2015
The Brian Setzer Orchestra The Brian Setzer Orchestra The Brian Setzer Orchestra

Review and photos by Johnny Hall

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania was fortunate enough to kick of the holiday season big band style with a Thanksgiving Eve performance by the world renowned Brian Setzer Orchestra. Making a stop on their "Christmas Rocks" Tour, Setzer and his 18 piece band spread plenty of Christmas cheer to young and old. All ages, from wide-eyed children to aisle-dancing granddaddy-o's showed up at the city's Art Deco landmark theatre. Having opened its doors in 1938, the F.M. Kirby Center was the ideal backdrop for the swinging big band sounds of Setzer and his crew.

Low Volts, the show opener, is a one man band reminiscent of street buskers of the Deep South. Tim Lowman, who charismatically takes on the roles of singer, guitar player, and drummer, played an energetic 20 minute set of 1950's rockabilly music. Dressed in a leather biker jacket and jeans and described as a one man lightning storm, Lowman started his set with his version of "Blue Christmas," an Elvis Presley original. He continued through his set playing original songs as well as a few Christmas tunes. Being a one man band doesn't stop Lowman from getting his audience going; he switches up from playing his hollow body guitar to playing slide on an acoustic, all while dancing and at times even jumping on his kick drum as if it were a riser.

Clad in a sharp three-piece suit and snapping in time to "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree," Setzer sauntered onto the stage and, from the first strum of his iconic Gretsch guitar, reminded the audience why he is one of the musical greats of our time. A three time Grammy award winner and founder of both the Stray Cats as well the 18 piece Brian Setzer Orchestra, he has had decades to perfect his stage presence, and the years have been kind. Currently in its 12th year, the "Christmas Rocks" tour is masterfully led by Setzer, who plays off of each band member as he guides the group through his arrangements of Christmas classics, Stray Cat hits, and Brian Setzer Orchestra favorites.

Setzer, a dynamic front man who has been credited with resurrecting both rockabilly and swing, has assembled some of the best musicians in the industry. The band sounded clean and tight, and many of the musicians' talents were showcased through solos. It was evident the crowd enjoyed the show, giving the band several lengthy standing ovations and dancing in the aisles during favorites such as "Jump Jive an' Wail."

Brian Setzer Orchestra's "Christmas Rocks" tour is a must see show for all Christmas loving fans of rockabilly and swing music.
Set List:
Rocking Around the Christmas Tree
This Cat's On a Hot Tin Roof
Stray Cat Strut
Boogie Woogie Santa Claus
(She's) Sexy and 17
Here Comes Santa Claus
Angels We Have Heard On High
Let's Shake
Jump Jive an' Wail
Jingle Bell Rock
Great Balls of Fire
Fishnet Stockings
Rockin' Rudolph
Rock This Town

Yabba Dabba Yuletide
Nutcracker Suite
Jingle Bells

Related articles:

Brian Setzer Orchestra - Concert review - Chicago, IL - December 2003

The Brian Setzer Orchestra
The Brian Setzer Orchestra The Brian Setzer Orchestra The Brian Setzer Orchestra
The Brian Setzer Orchestra Low Volts
Low Volts
Low Volts
Low Volts
Low Volts
Low Volts

What Do You Think?



City & State:

e mail:

Here's Your Chance to.... Respond!

Your feedback will be featured on
Rant or Rave within 24 hours.

Return to Reviews
Return to Menu