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The Yard Dogs Road Show's Hobo Delight 

The hobo cabaret comes to Bend.

click to enlarge on-stage_ydrs_photo_girls.jpg
Yard Dogs Road Show has a new EP, entitled September Summer, but that really doesn't especially matter because this is a band that almost certainly won't make any sense to you merely on record. And that's not to say YDRS, a San-Francisco-based traveling variety show (of sorts), isn't a collectively talented musical troupe, because it certainly is. But the act's show is as visual as it is auditory, that's what we're getting at.

The Yard Dogs Road Show describes itself as a "hobo cabaret" which is a fine description, but to be more specific, the act's show is all of these things, oftentimes all at once: a vaudeville show, a big band performance, a circus sideshow, a gusty/bluesy rock and roll concert and the craziest costume party this side of Burning Man. A YDRS performance is a confetti-sprinkled, knock-down drag-out affair that provides sword swallowing and stage magic, old-timey saloon-style cabaret dancing, skits, horn sections, costumes and plenty of other surprises. Much apologies for the back-to-back lists there, but it's important to roll out, with detail, what exactly is going on here.

This troupe began as a three-piece jug band (the current lineup can be as large as 13 members) and was formed by Eddy Joe Cotton, an actual hobo who went undercover to investigate the train-hopping hobo lifestyle, then authored the non-fiction account of his travels. The show appears very much like something a hobo of days past might find at some railroad-track-side dive club.

Again, you just have to see this. We could roll out a few more lists, but your eyes and ears would do a far better job.

Yard Dogs Road Show

8pm doors, 9pm show Wednesday, September 30. $20/advance, $24/door. Tickets at Ranch Records and ticketswest.com. All ages.


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