Left to right: Tobias the Mystic Man, Teri Lyn Sage, Broadway, Sansa Asylum, Kid Casbah, Lily Rose Love, Micha D, Shenandoah Ableman and Eenor Wildbore are members of the Yard Dogs Road Show. - Photo by Hilary Hulteen

A jazz-rock theatrical

In its genesis, the Yard Dogs Road Show was a cowboy and two stuntmen performing knucklehead jug-band acts. "We used to be as drunk as can be," says self-described "song and dance man" Broadway during a telephone interview from the shower of his home near Oakland, Calif.

But that was more than a decade ago. Today the band is, in Broadway's terms, "a collaborative spectacle," "a jazz-rock theatrical with dancing girls" and "an electric symphony of burly pirates."

"We'll take you on a journey through a colorful dream landscape to enlighten your spirit, wet your whistle and break your heart," says Broadway.

The Dogs will present their theatrics at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 3, at the Historic Ashland Armory, 208 Oak St., Ashland.

Eddy Joe Cotton, Broadway and Kid Casbah were the imaginative minds behind this vaudeville spectacle. The three-piece junk band morphed into an 11-piece variety troupe — 14 if you count the technical crew, Richie and Melvin, and the live chicken that is part of the magic acts. The creative and absurd individual talents and ideas of each member of the cast has contributed to the evolution of the show, says Broadway.

The Dogs' raucous circus features sword swallowing, comedy skits, "classy and exotic" show-girl dance numbers, innovative rock 'n' roll, lots of confetti and vibrant costumes complete with rhinestones and sequins.

The various vagabonds have been dubbed by Broadway as the Copacabana-esque queen of Pineapple Island, the lovely golden-voiced nightingale, the powerhouse of soul-singing beauty, the spaceman rocket-roller, the jazz mastermind, the golden leopard of the trumpet and the ruler of love, rainbows and bunnies. However, these fanciful characters are more commonly known as vocalists Sansa Asylum and Shenandoah Ableman, trombone player Lily Rose Love, guitarist Eenor Wildbore, drummer Slota, trumpet player Kid Casbah and guitarist and bassist Micha D., respectively.

Dancers are the "fiercely graceful" Ju Ju the Crusher and the "solid gold goddess" Teri Lyn Sage. Tobias, the man of wonder and intrigue, performs magical stunts throughout.

“We're more casual than you would think for that many wild people,” says Broadway. “Actually, no, we're pretty wild, too.”

The current configuration has been touring together for the past eight to 10 years, says Broadway. The group has toured through Europe, Canada, Portugal and the United States.

The band's music is no less original than the acts. The Dogs play jazzy rock 'n' roll songs.

“The music is a nonstop catalyst for the corresponding acts,” says Broadway.

Next year, the Dogs plan to release a DVD, “Trail of Confetti,” featuring footage from the past 10 years.

Due to the burlesque dances, innuendos and available libations, the show at the Armory is limited to ages 21 and older. Audience participation and your finest masquerade are strongly encouraged.

Tickets cost $18 to $20. Advance tickets are available at the Music Coop or online at www.brownpapertickets.com. Call 541-840-4102 or see www.yarddogsroadshow.com.

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