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Dada in the Parish

Being a product of the 80s, the evolution of what I listened to (music wise) was pretty much an evolutionary line into the 90s (less the grunge movement and the dying out of the glam/hair metal bands). I graduated from high school in 1992 and needless to say my fascination with music blossomed that year. I had recently discovered the local alternative radio station (94.5 KDGE, The EDGE) and the ever so awesome 120 Minutes and Amp rounded out my new fascination.

1992 also brought the debut disc, Puzzle, by Dada. The blessing and curse of the album was easily seen in hindsight, "Dizz Knee Land." To keep from being sued for copyright infringement, the band took a tongue and cheek approach and just used an alternate spelling of the famous mouse place. I was lucky enough to catch them play a festival held by my local radio station. Flash-forward some 25 years later and the band brought along their tour to the House of Blues, Parish room.

The trio from California is made of Michael Gurley (guitar/co-lead vocals), Joie Calio (bass/co-lead vocals) and Phil Leavitt (drums). Leavitt came out right as the band was about to go on and announced that “due to an emergency,” Joie wouldn’t be at the show. They did manage to recruit fellow Californian Brian Whelan to step in and take on that hefty duty at hand. This would have been a treat, had Whelan had more knowledge of the Dada catalogue. Instead, it was a whopping five Dada-songs set surrounded by a slew of 7Horse material and a few covers, one of which was Whelan’s “Sugarland” off his latest album.

Dada (photos by: Steven Hatley)

Phil told the audience that this show was going to be more different than others on the tour, mainly because of the 7Horse explosion. Leavitt’s drum kit was stage left front, while Michael was poised on the stage right side. After four songs, Leavitt introduced Brain as he took up camp right behind Gurley. Michael picked up the vocal sides of the set that Calio would have normally played.

While I wasn’t given a full-force Dada set, I was able to see a side of the band that few will ever get to. They could have easily decided not to play, but took their lumps and muscled through a fun and rocking show. You can see more of my pictures here.

Steven Hatley is a New Orleans-based photographer. You can find more of his photography here.