“This was so much fun,” a beaming Julie Reiten Setzer declared at the end of the Dust Bunnies’ first performance in 11 years. “More fun for us than for you.”
Well, that’s debatable. Both the crowd and the reunited Twin Cites band had grand old times Saturday night at the Fine Line. The Dust Bunnies sounded road-tested tight and featured fabulous vocals by Setzer and Jennifer Goforth. The eclectic, swingin’ group delivered many originals and some select covers with flair and enthusiasm. And, yes, Setzer’s famous husband, Brian, sat in for two tunes. And drummer Dave Russ unleashed his voice and humor for a brilliantly inspired ending to the triumphant 95-minute set.
Back in 1996, the Dust Bunnies won a Minnesota Music Award for best new band. The crew split up in 1999 after a farewell Fine Line gig, and Reiten then moved to Los Angeles.
The various members have remained active in music. Reiten (now Setzer) has been a backup singer for the Brian Setzer Orchestra (she and hubby Brian moved to Minneapolis several years ago). Goforth has done similar backup duties with Tina Schlieske’s various projects. Bassist Steve Murray plays with Molly Maher, guitarist David Green with Ten Ton Bridge and guitarist Eric Kratochvil with Rhino. Russ has a recording studio and drums with Dan Israel and countless others.
On Saturday, Setzer and Goforth were in fine voice. Setzer showed radiant theatricality and Goforth uncorked an Aretha-like soulfulness. When she sang Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man,” you’d swear she was from Memphis, not Hopkins.
“Preacher Man” was followed by an unexpectedly raucous version of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” with Russ’ outrageously high and spot-on vocal screams. He orchestrated the only thing that could top that closer: A hilarious and long medley of ABBA tunes, with Setzer and Goforth tossing a lyric sheet to the ground after each new number.
This closing assault of mismatched covers was a perfect way to prevent rock star Brian Setzer from upstaging his wife’s ex-band. He played some hot jazz guitar on "Mood Ring" and then sang lead on the BSO’s “This Cat’s on a Hot Tin Roof.”
“Well, that just made my life,” Goforth proclaimed.
Said Setzer: "Don't you think the Dust Bunnies should play more than one show?"