No matter what group of able players is backing him, Izzy Zaidman -- known just as Izzy on swingin' circuits -- is a one-man powerhouse of retro guitar fun. As the longtime axman for Wayne "The Train" Hancock, he perfected a rollicking style of guitar-picking that sounded like it was swiped straight from the Sun Records vaults.
As a frontman in his own right, though, Izzy's amassed a cult following of fans across the country thanks to his distinctive live shows. As a bandleader, he's part foul-mouthed lounge lizard, part Andy Kaufmanesque comedian, and, most of the time, a fiery force of rock 'n' roll. And swing. And honky tonk. And a little classic country. And basically every other musical genre for which a pompadour and bright lipstick are perfectly appropriate.
This is straight-up fun, no chasers, and Izzy returns to South Florida this Saturday when he performs with a new backing band, the Catastrophics, at the Poorhouse. Though he's come through previously with the outfit the Kesstronics, this grouping features a fresh lineup. Most notably for subcultural types, that includes trombonist Chapman Sowash, who's done time with favorites of the trad ska scene like the Toasters, the Slackers, Westbound Train, and the Aggrolites.
Arielle Castillo, Broward/Palm Beach New Times
If Izzy & the Catastrophics were just a marginal band, they'd get bumped up a notch simply by virtue of the fact that they had the good sense to hire unmatched trombone blower and former Pinstripe Chapman Sowash. Oh, but Izzy & the Catastrophics are so much more than marginal; if they'd been the dance band on the Titanic, they'd have blown that iceberg into bar cubes for drinks on the lido deck. Izzy is the perfect frenetic frontman, like Weird Al Jankovich without the flimsy jokes, and the Catastrophics swing so perfectly that Cab Calloway's heavenly grin is brighter than Sirius on a clear night. Izzy & the Catastrophics will make all your dreams come true, especially the ones you haven't had yet.
- Brian Baker, CityBeat Cincinnati, OH
... But the band was good. They were real good. In fact as far as talent, they might be one of the best new bands this year, if not the best. I have to temper that by saying they are definitely more rockabilly than country, but they fit nicely in that far but still connected branch of the underground country world that includes people like The Reverend Horton Heat, Rosie Flores, Brian Setzer, etc.
Izzy and the Kesstronics is made up of four ringer musicians. I never saw Izzy with Wayne Hancock, and it was hard to visualize him there because Izzy is just too good of a guitar player, too good of a front man, and too good of a songwriter to play second fiddle to anyone. And having said that, the Slovene drummer, Gasper Bertoncelj was a show stealer. Simply put, Izzy and the Kesstronics were an amazing, mind blowing, high energy, intense band that didn't let up for one second.
The best guitarist at this year's MidPoint might be Izzy Zaidman, leader of the Brooklyn band Izzy and the Catastrophics. Zaidman, a former lead guitarist for Wayne Hancock, did a set at the Blue Wisp of swing, rockabilly and blues, and every song was a showpiece for him or one of his two great horn players. On trombone was ex-Cincinnatian Chapman Sowash, who drew a big cheering section in the crowd.
www.Cincinatti.com, Chris Varias
The last time this band was in town, we were getting texts and such saying we had to make it to the Blue Moon Saloon and check these guys out. Right, we thought. Upon arriving and seeingIzzy and the Catastrophics, it became clear that we had been missing out for quite some time. Close your eyes and you would think you had stumbled into a New Orleans jazz club. With a sound that is a cross between Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and the Stray Cats, this band absolutely kicks ass. The band has played over 250 shows a year since 2008, and is polished to show for it. Front man Izzy Zaidman and the band have toured with the likes of the Reverend Horton Heat, Snoop Dog and more. So how does little Sonoma Valley end up with talent like this, and for no cover? Well, the story goes that one time when rolling through town, Izzy fell in love with a local gal, and the rest is history, and now the end of every leg of the tour ends in Sonoma Valley, with a couple shows for the home town crowd. Next show is Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Blue Moon Saloon, kicking off at 9 p.m. and there is no cover.
Sonoma, (California) Index Tribune
With the 'stripes working the crowd and the merch table simultaneously, it was time for New York's Izzy and the Catastrophics to take the Blue Wisp stage. This was a show of interest for a lot of Pinstripes fans, as the band's appearance was the live return of former 'stripes trombonist Chap Sowash, who moved to New York a couple of years ago and joined the Catastrophics. For the first couple of minutes of the first song, Sowash and the other members of the horn section moved off the stage and circulated through the crowd, the saxophonist venturing behind the bar while blowing an avant Jazz Blues honk and entertaining patrons as they bellied up to the rail. The Catastrophics are grounded in old time Rock and Roll, with an undercurrent of jumping jive, soulful Blues and propulsively swinging Jazz (they even do an Artie Shaw cover). The heart of the band's music, though, is liquor-and-sweat-drenched Rock and Roll with a sweet funky '50s edge, like the greaser homage that Roy Wood assembled back in the '70s under the banner Eddy & the Falcons
Premier roots gig 2011 pour Curieus Schaarbeek, toujours au Kriekelaar! C'est á New York que Surfing Airlines a déniché le swing/rockabilly combo: Izzy & the Kesstronics! Un conseil, ne ratez pas ces jeunes gens s'ils passent prés de chez vous, top-tier roots musicians, dixit le Palm Beach New Times, ils dégagent une énergie et un savoir-faire pas banals.
14 h, Walter et Steven rappliquent, flanqués des New-Yorkais.
14h05, sans crier gare, le quintette monte sur scéne et nous balance un swing juteux comme amuse-bouche, il y a á peine une vingtaine de clients, en plein travail digestif, dans le café! Clin d'oeil á Jacqueline, on va pas se faire chier cette aprés-midi!
Curieus Schaarbeek, http://concerts-review.over-blog.com