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Tackling anything by Tom Waits is like wrestling an alligator: do it well and you`ve got a new pair of shoes:, screw up and you`re dead, Jack. Describing themselves as a Dixiland funeral with an infinite happy end, Billy`s band is on the fringe in its St.Petersburg home and will be on the fringe of the fringe here. Bandleader, Billy Novik barks gruff and hip (in Russian and English) just like Waits – or perhaps Cookie Monster on a vodka bender.
Billy's Band is like a combined Dixieland and polka band that plays almost jazzy. When you hear a big smash, it's one of the dudes crashing cymbals over his head to a crazy march. The lead singer/bassist (yeah, it's a bassist heading the ship) Billy Novik has a voice that can only be compared to Louis Armstrong. It's gritty and feels like it comes straight out of his gut. But he's a funny little white guy with a funny hat and even funnier stories about being told the difference between a bass and a coffin ("the dead guy's inside of the coffin").
Take a glass of a roller coaster life; add a pinch of death and a thimbleful of love... Voila! You get “The Graveyard Dixieland with an Endless Happy End”, which permanently overwhelms the public at The Billy’s Band gigs.
Looking for more information including sound and video clips? Check out The Artistic Director's Guide to the Festival.