HUDSON — Over the course of 25 years and ten albums, the Subdudes have quietly become one of America’s national music treasures. The New Orleans legends bring their unique blend of roots-rock and Big Easy-style good-time party music to Club Helsinki Hudson on Friday, June 21, at 9 p.m. If you haven’t yet heard the Subdudes, imagine what Little Feat, The Band, or even the Grateful Dead might have sounded like had they grown up in New Orleans clubs like Tipitina’s, which the group still calls headquarters when they’re in their hometown.
The New Orleans-formed group is a living encapsulation of American music, a vibrant cauldron of sounds that stirs together meaty grooves and jazzy dynamics, soulful R&B swagger, easy vocal harmonies, cheeky rock ‘n’ roll attitude and folky social consciousness - not to mention some of the sharpest musicianship and ensemble playing you’ll ever hear from any five musicians.
Led by singer/guitarist Tommy Malone and accordionist, John Magnie, the Subdudes draw most of their inspiration from the sounds of their native New Orleans, blending blues, gospel, funk, and R&B with their own harmony vocals. Their sound is also notable for the band’s substitution of a tambourine player, Steve Amedée, for a drummer. Tim Cook rounds out the ensemble on bass.
The Subdudes are all about musical versatility. They can rock out like a Big Easy version of the Rolling Stones on “All the Time in the World” and then turn around and turn in a Cajun-inflected, unplugged soul tune like “Papa Dukie & the Mud People” with hints of the Band, before going full-fledged jam-band on you in “It’s So Hard”, filmed here just over a year ago at New York City’s City Winery. They can even turn in New Orleans-inflected four-part doo-wop harmonies, such as on “Morning Glory.”
NPR loves the Subdudes. They’ve been featured on Weekend Edition, World Cafe, and Mountain Stage.
The Los Angeles Times raves, “Soulfulness comes almost too easily to the subdudes. Tommy Malone, the guitarist and main singer, showed a natural proclivity for a high, plaintive, well-controlled cry in which the airways fill with so much emotion that the vocalist seems about to choke. Think Steve Winwood, and you’ll have a pretty close idea of the effect.”
Paste Magazine hyperventilates, “The Subdudes surely qualify for mastery under Gauguin’s definition. They took their collective musical heritage of raucous Louisiana roots rock, shook it up in a gris-gris bag of R&B, zydeco, country, blues and jazz, and in a mystical birth gave us back a swampy, soulful, joyful, danceable music - a soul-stirring sound nobody had ever heard.”
You can even prime yourselves for the Subdudes at Helsinki by watching a full-length show at the Boulder Theater in Boulder, Colo., from a few years back.
Head to Club Helsinki for the flavor of Mardi Gras in June. And speaking of Mardi Gras flavor, as always, Helsinki executive chef Hugh Horner - born and bred in the bayou - will have plenty of Big Easy specialties on the menu to round out the full and complete New Orleans experience.
Remember - for reservations in The Restaurant or in the club call 518.828.4800. To purchase tickets online go here. For the most up-to-date concert information, always visit Club Helsinki Hudson.