The free summer concerts at the Levitt Pavilion band shells have long offered an invigorating mix of touring and local acts to the L.A. area. Saturday's show at the Levitt in Pasadena figures to be one of this season's highlights with the grand-scale retro collective Vaud and the Villains.
The Times profiled the group, which typically brings between 15 and 20 musicians on stage, in 2012. Since then, the group formed by actor-musician Vaud Overstreet, whose real name is Andy Comeau, and his wife, a singer who uses the stage name Peaches Maloney, has added more high-profile credits to its resume.
While the group has been working on an album (due this fall), Showtime's "House of Lies" series incorporated three of the new songs into different episodes, one of which also featured the band itself.
"We were woven throughout the whole episode," said singer and saxophonist Overstreet, who decided to start a band during some slow going in his acting career several years ago.
He and Maloney had been deeply inspired by Bruce Springsteen's 2006 album "We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions," and started thinking, "What if we created a show around this style of music?"
The result is a musically rich melange of New Orleans jazz, gospel, blues, R&B and rock with contemporary references smartly worked into the group's exuberant performances. The group bills itself as a "1930s New Orleans Orchestra and Cabaret Show," and in fact the theatrical aspect of the band's performances gets as much consideration as the music.
As Overstreet tells it, "I started researching the older bands. Everybody thinks rock 'n' roll started in the '50s, but there were some really rocking bands — just string band or horn bands — at the turn of the century that were killing it."
Despite the Vaud and the Villains' unusual size, which can make touring expensive, they'll be embarking on another tour with several stops in Northern California in mid-August, along with a string of dates across the northeast in January. In between, the group will launch a fall residency at Busby's on Wilshire.
In his other career as an actor, Overstreet/Comeau has a new movie, "Frank the Bastard," opening this weekend, and has taken on the lead role in an indie comedy "Frozen Peas."