Dustbowl Revival and Hot Club of Cowtown celebrate 50th anniversary of The Band

Venice’s Dustbowl Revival blends funky jazz, mandolin bluegrass and early blues

Dustbowl Revival — the enterprising, Venice-rooted octet that launched from local house parties and dive bars to global festival and theater tours — has teamed with Texas trio Hot Club of Cowtown to celebrate Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel and Garth Hudson, aka The Band. They’ve been performing songs from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legends’ first two albums, 1968’s seminal “Music From Big Pink” and 1969’s made-in-L.A. “The Band,” on a West Coast tour that brings them to Pepperdine’s Smothers Theatre in Malibu on Tuesday.

Set lists have varied, but at each concert Dustbowl and Hot Club are framing some of their own material with soulful Band classics like “This Wheel’s on Fire” and the Bob Dylan-composed “I Shall Be Released” to identify musical DNA they share with The Band, who filled in the blueprint for rustic Americana before there was such a named genre.

Known for infusing Western swing with gypsy jazz, Hot Club of Cowtown’s new EP “Crossing the Great Divide” is seven songs drawn mostly from the gentler end of The Band’s catalogue. Dustbowl Revival’s live shows have long featured swampy Band chestnuts like “Don’t Do It,” “Rag Mama Rag,” “Up on Cripple Creek” and “The Weight,” all ideal vehicles for Dustbowl’s funky blend of horn-punctuated New Orleans jazz, mandolin-driven bluegrass and pre-WWII blues.

Dustbowl and Hot Club are performing individually and as a united collective on this tour — which, considering the number of players involved, should make for some interesting stage moves.

— Bliss Bowen

“Across the Great Divide: A Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of The Band” happens at 8 p.m. Tuesday (March 19) at Pepperdine University’s Smothers Theatre, 24255 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu. Tickets are $20 to $40 via (310) 506-4522 or arts.pepperdine.edu.

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