Squirrel Nut Zippers swung through The Crocodile on November 27th, 2018. Led by co-founder Jimbo Mathus, the quirky early-jazz revival nonet brought a holiday flavor to their New Orleans style. Their tour supports their March 2018 album, Beasts of Burgundy.
Mathus, dressed as a circus ringleader, alternated between guitar and physical comedy—balancing on an upright bass, dancing in a papier–mâché skull mask and Santa hat, and conducting with a serpent staff. Multi-instrumentalist Dr. Sick tossed Mardi Gras beads to the audience, played singing saw, and swing-danced in pinstripes, snakeskin shoes, and cannabis-leaf socks. Vocalist Cella Blue played jingle bells, and underwent several costume changes that included an elf dress and a Christmas-colored suit sewn from a vintage McCall’s pattern.
The Zippers played an energetic set of 15 tunes across their discography, plus a 4-song encore that ended in a second-line parade snaking through the audience. Other highlights included “Ghost of Steven Foster” played as accompaniment to the old-timey B&W cartoon, and of course their 1996 calypso-swing hit “Hell.” Although SNZs’ lineup and style have morphed throughout their 25 years, the band continues to put on a crowd-pleasing show.