EDIT: This story has been updated. The Dirty Bourbon River Show does not have a reputation for being late for shows. Frontman Noah Adams said New Orleans bands in general do.
Charlie Skinner describes himself as the ringleader of the Dirty Bourbon River Show. It seems fitting for a band to have a ringleader when it describes itself as “New Orleans Gypsy Brass Circus Rock.”
But don’t mistake “ringleader” for “frontman.” That’s Noah Adam’s job. Skinner does some singing, and plays some trombone and “wind toys.” But what do his ringleader duties entail?
“A lot of what I consider my job to be is a liaison between the audience and the band,” Skinner said during a tour stop in Austin, Texas. “I have to be a kind of buffer if someone comes up from the crowd to try to mess with us, but usually I’m trying to make us accessible if someone has a question. In between songs I’ll do some banter and tell the audience info about the songs and where they come from. I represent us on stage, as well as make our presence known. That’s the true job of the ringleader.”
Skinner’s father was a blues musician, and before he joined DBRS, Charlie Skinner was a vocal performance major at Loyola University, where several other members of the band were students. He met Adams and two weeks later was on stage with the band, smoking cigars and yelling at the audience. Skinner said he has refined his stage persona since then.
But “Big Charlie” isn’t totally alien from Skinner’s offstage personality. In fact, Skinner said audiences get a truer view of who he is on stage.
“I’m definitely more me on stage than I am every day. I feel more hindered in real life than I do on the stage,” Skinner said. “I think that’s true of everyone in the band. We’ve gotten so comfortable on stage that it’s where we feel most at home.”
Last year DBRS released two albums, “Volume Three” and “The Most Peculiar Thing.” The band has already started recording its next album, “Volume IV,” which is due out this spring. For a band that’s only four years old, Dirty Bourbon River Show has proven itself to be quite prolific.
Part of that stems from the band’s time in college. Adams was president of the university recording studio, and DBRS used that to its full advantage. They worked out their recording kinks while using the studio for free, and now that they’re paying for the studio time they know how to use it efficiently.
New Orleans bands don't always have the best reputation for starting their show on time. Dirty Bourbon River Show is working to fight against that perception. The band doesn't like to keep fans waiting.
“There’s the time for a gig, and then there’s New Orleans time,” Skinner said. “On the road, we can’t expect people to understand that. We strive to be professional always.”
Dirty Bourbon River Show
When: 9:30 p.m. Thursday
Where: Vaudeville Mews, 212 Fourth St.