Last night in Chattanooga, the first of seven Dirty Dozen Brass Band shows co-billed with ulu went awry.

It seems the DDBB's tour bus broke down, and after a less than desirable turnout, the promoter used the tardiness as an excuse to cancel the show, much to the dismay of the 70 people in attendance. ulu, who it seemed had lured many of the people to the corporate venue that night, drove the crowd into a frenzy for about an hour, and were eventually told to stop. Still wanting to weave their patented, potent web of jazz/funk for hungry listeners, the band pleaded with the promoter to continue, but to no avail they were unplugged very quickly. No refunds were issued, and everyone was bummed to be out both $15 for one hour of music, and to be at a loss for something to do. Then I heard a rumor that ulu might be playing at another club across town... Jacob's Ladder.

I knew the band gigged there pretty regularly, and it was a lot more scene-friendly than the ambience-free venue I was at, so I checked it out. When I arrived, the lights were out, the door was locked, and I heard music bumping inside. I knocked for about five minutes until someone finally let me in (who I later discovered was the owner). As I walked in I realized that I was interrupting some sort of band practice (Honky Toast?), but the owner gave me a free beer, and I hung out. Pretty soon, more people started showing up and the owner/bass player was confronted with the rumor of a DDBB/ulu show, and before he could reply, ulu walked in the door. Apparently, they were pretty good friends, as Honky Toast became Honky ulu, then just ulu (minus the keys, plus vocals, guitar and Banjo!). The twenty of us that were there were treated to a 90 minute free-form jam, and we all wished that the show had been at Jacob's Ladder in the first place. Anyway, I've seen ulu six times and always been impressed, but the set at Jacob's Ladder last night was off the hook! I've never seen the band have so much fun. Maybe it was the size of the crowd, or the opportunity to let out the pent up boogie energy stifled at the other venue. I'm not sure what caused it, but whatever it was, the music rocked.

JamBase | Chattanooga
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[Published on: 11/7/01]

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