A cabaret band that combines virtuosic gypsy violin with 1920s hot jazz, swing, and Yiddish song, the Sour Mash Hug Band evokes an era that never quite existed. Paris in the 30s, Harlem in the 20s, New Orleans in the 90s, its hard to say.
The ensemble is known for their original tunes reminiscent of Kurt Weill, Tom Waits, and Danny Elfman. Led by violinist and bandleader Mickey and Trombone playing chanteuse Shiri, they present a rotating cast of the hot pickers and swinging horn players. After forming some 12 years ago, the band crisscrossed the country by bike, freight train, and broken down van playing at every street corner and dive bar that would have them.
This took them to San Francisco, Bellingham, New York and finally to New Orleans which became their home away from home. For the past six years the band has split their time between the rag-tag circus haunts of East Oakland and the hot jazz haven where Royal Street meets Frenchman, while spending summers in Romania, and Hungary studying the music they love. Being exposed to many varieties of music in their travels the musicians have developed a unique cabaret style drawing on traditional jazz, hokum, American fiddle music, muzica lautareasca, and Yiddish theatre.