The world was introduced to the surprisingly kinky character Michelle Flaherty in the 1999 release of “American Pie”. With just six words—this one time at band camp—Flaherty’s character gave much needed street cred to band geeks everywhere. Seven years later, a group of five musicians at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art decided it was time to add some cool to the kinky reputation of band kids. Josh Holcomb, Daro Behroozi, Joshua Gawel, Raphael Buyo and Charles Sams formed the brass band the Lucky Chops with the intention of performing pop music covers. As it turns out, the Lucky Chops weren’t the only people upping their band game. In an epic half-time performance that went viral in 2013, the Ohio State University marching band famously recreated a moonwalking Michael Jackson.
The gauntlet was thrown, and it would take the Lucky Chops two more years to finally answer the call. On February 20, 2015 the band found themselves busking under the New York City subway system as part of the Music Under New York program. Thanks to the amazing capabilities of smartphones and social media, the performance went viral accruing over 5.6 million views. The result of their instantaneous success was a world tour which sold out shows from the Bay Area to Berlin as well as over 100 million YouTube video views.
Although a serendipitous social media post may have been one of the things that brought the Lucky Chops to the mainstream, their legitimate cool factor has kept them there for the last three years. Trombonist Josh Holcomb combines the dancing skills of Bruno Mars with the quirky looks of Cheyenne Jackson. Daro Behroozi sports a nose ring, colorful hair and looks more skater than saxophonist. Then there’s the proportionally misfit pairing of Filipino-American sousaphone player Raphael Buyo with his enormous instrument. How he manages to find the lung capacity to play and energetically dance at the same time may just be the eighth wonder of the world.
The band which has now released one full-length album and several EPs, is making their way to the Discovery Theatre stage for two performances as well as some community outreach with local schools. The performances are scheduled for Friday, November 9 and Saturday, November 10 at 7:30pm. Tickets are available at AnchorageConcerts.org. Also, don’t forget to join the Lucky Chops for a free pre-show talk at 6:30pm on Saturday.