Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Michael Kats
When I first walked into the Sanctuary for Independent Media, I was disappointed to find that only about two-thirds of the usual number of chairs were set up for the concert. “Too bad,” I thought to myself, imagining that a small crowd was expected for the show.
I was wrong, and the folks at the Sanctuary were right. It wasn’t that they were expecting a small crowd; it was simply that they weren’t expecting the crowd to be sitting down for very long. This was a Louisiana dance party, after all, and sometime around the second of third tune of the evening – “Why You Wanna Make Me Cry?” or “Le Solier Est Leve” – I got up out of my seat, too.
I’m not much of a dancer, but my feet simply would not allow me stand idly by as Cedric Watson and his groove-alious band Bijou Creole pumped out their Louisiana bayou, swamp-soaked goodness at the Sanctuary for Independent Media. And when a pretty young girl asks you to dance, a reviewer should be willing to throw his notes out the window and just go for it. I was in the moment, and you really can’t ask for more than that from music. Or anything in life, I think.
Bandleader-vocalist Watson provided plenty of irresistible musical fuel, whether he was playing button accordion or low-slung fiddle, while saxman Kyle Gambino and frottoir player Desiree Champagne kept the energy level high. Bijou Creole was sporting a new rhythm section since their concert last year at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, but drummer Casual-T and bassist Tyler M. Sonnier never allowed the beat to flag, even when things slowed down for a pretty zydeco waltz or two.
And they somehow managed to crank it up an extra notch or two for the second of their two 50-minute sets, with the gospelesque, call-and-response soul-shout of “Le Sud de la Louisiane,” the full-bore rave-up of “Cochon de Lait,” a dazzling accordion-frottoir breakdown at the conclusion of “A Kiss Ain’t a Contract” and a show-closing medley of Boozoo Chavis gems.