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Live Review: Tedeschi Trucks Band, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue

5 April 2013 | 9:37 am | Michael Smith

The stage may have been filled by solo virtuosos – in both bands – but in the end, what the crowd got was the sheer joy of collaboration in making music.

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One might have been billed as the supporting act, but tonight there were two headliners hitting the Enmore Theatre stage, both mining the incredibly rich and diverse veins of America's Southern musical heritage and both delivering their particular and unique takes on that heritage with an unstoppable momentum that brought a smile to everyone in the room.

The first word that came to mind as Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue came out swinging was propulsion. There was this extraordinary energy coming off the stage that was just sheer power, based not on loudness or youthful arrogance, but total enthusiasm for the music these six musicians make. What they delivered in spades was the most remarkably seamless and enjoyable musical history lesson Sydneysiders have ever experienced, as the band channelled every kind of music New Orleans has inspired.

Similarly, but drawing from a little further north, the most understated guitar hero in the business, Derek Trucks, and his guitar-toting wife, singer Susan Tedeschi, led their blistering 11-piece Tedeschi Trucks Band through a Southern rock-meets-soul revue catalogue that could take you from a whisper to that unstoppable jet engine roar, simply powered by the complete love of what they were doing, rather than volume. The two drummers never overstated their case, each watching the other with an obvious respect that could be seen between everyone on that stage. They threw in sounds that took their audience into the occasional place they might never otherwise go, whether through the unlikely fun of '60s soul hit, Uptight (Everything's Alright), or the out-there free jazz of Kebbi Williams' saxophone.

The stage may have been filled by solo virtuosos – in both bands – but in the end, what the crowd got was the sheer joy of collaboration in making music.

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