Remember that Gap commercial circa 1998 where a bunch of khaki-clad models jump, jive and wail to the stylings of the Brian Setzer Orchestra? One of the oddest fads that passed through the music world during the ’90s was this sudden rise in popularity of swing and ska music, which cheerily rose out of a sea of grunge, alternative and electronica music. If you were alive and digging the music scene then, you’ve undoubtedly heard of local favorites the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, seeing as they scored a major radio hit with “Zoot Suit Riot,” which was recorded right here in Eugene. Hopefully you haven’t pigeonholed these Daddies as a bunch of swing-happy hepcats.
While they do incorporate elements of swing and various forms of ska into their music, the presence of punk, rockabilly and psychobilly in their songs shows how much they like to cut a broad swath across the musical landscape. They, of course, know how to have a good time, as “Zoot Suit Riot,” “Ding Dong Daddy” and “Brown Derby Jump” attest, but tracks like “Irish Whiskey” show they can rock out and just play straight-up punk sometimes. Toss in the greaser-rock sounds of tracks like “Julie Grave,” the Flamenco-tinged “Breathe” and even the borderline pop-rock number “The Good Things,” and you can see how much this band thrives on variety.
Their last release, 2009’s Susquehanna, was wall-to-wall ska and was the band’s attempt to give their fans an excuse not to have to “apologize for our eclecticism” according to the band’s lead singer, Steve Perry. As the band prepares to release a new album in early 2013 — thanks to a successful PledgeMusic campaign — called White Teeth, Black Thoughts, fans will not have to wait long to see what the Daddies have in store for them next.
Cherry Poppin’ Daddies and Medium Troy play 9 pm Friday, Dec. 28, at WOW Hall; $12 adv., $15 door.