We’ve been losing the greats from the 1960s in droves lately. Joe Cocker left an indelible mark on the world of music due to his effervescent stage persona, gravelly vocals, and passionate performances. Amazingly, this legendary performer is not in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, yet his parody on Saturday Night Live—by none other than John Belushi—is one of the most famous sketches from the early years of the groundbreaking show .
This Friday night at One Eyed Jacks, an all-star group of New Orleans musicians will honor the man and celebrate his life and music by performing his epic 1970 live album, Mad Dogs and Englishmen, in its entirety. This tribute is taking place on the 45th anniversary of the Fillmore East concert.
Speculation abounds about why he has been snubbed by the secretive organization since first becoming eligible in 1994. Though he didn’t write his own material, his interpretations of classics from the era, now so in vogue on shows like American Idol, literally define the word. Don’t even get me started on his performance energy.
The lineup and schedule for the annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is unveiled in a two-step process shrouded in mystery and secrecy. Earlier this year, the bands and performance days for each of the acts were announced. Today, at the annual “press party,” the times and stages were revealed.
The process is painstaking as the organizers seek to please the many and varied constituents as well as create a logical, well thought out continuum for each of the stages on each of the seven days.
This year, as it is every year, there will be some inevitable conflicts. But as Quint Davis, the fest’s producer/director pointed out, there are also some enviable matchups pairing “guest” artists with New Orleans and Louisiana talent.
The 10th annual celebration of New Orleans’ musical culture will feature headliners Terrance Simien & The Zydeco Experience and early hip hop innovator Mannie Fresh. The three-day festival on the banks of Bayou St. John is scheduled for May 15-17,2015.
In keeping with the inclusive nature of the festival, which began as a one-day event in 2006, the rest of the lineup is equally as eclectic. Musical acts from virtually every genre will be presented on three stages.
From New Orleans funky rock supergroup the New Orleans Suspects and hoodoo bluesman Papa Mali to prog rock pioneers Woodenhead and R&B piano stylist Davis Rogan, the Bayou Boogaloo has something for everyone.
Of particular interest is an act billed as Mike Dillon’s New Orleans Punk Rock Percussion Consortium. Led by Dillon, the manic vibraphonist/ conguero/ tabla/ cuica/ fill-in-the-percussion instrument performer, the group features Stanton Moore, Jason Marsalis, Simon Lott, Terrence Houston, Daria Dzurik, Jesse Paige, Aaron Walker, Otto Schrang, Paul Thibodeaux, Brian Coogan, Doug Belote and others. Perhaps the rest of the drummers in town?
The Gulfport, Mississippi-based Americana band will perform a rare acoustic show in the intimate confines of Chickie Wah Wah on Saturday night at 8:30 PM. Hart will open the show playing solo.
Rosco Bandana is the latest in a series of young and up and coming bands to perform at the Canal Street fine listening establishment. They have been turning ears with their strong vocal harmonies and rootsy instrumentation.
The band won a Battle of the Bands contest sponsored by Hard Rock on the strength of Jason Sanford’s compelling original material.
It’s hard to believe that of all the iconic 1960s rock ‘n’ roll bands, the Zombies of “Time of the Season” and “She’s Not There” fame never played in New Orleans.
That will be remedied this Thursday night when the band, which features original members Rod Argent on keys and Colin Blunstone on vocals, hits the stage at the Decatur Street nightclub. It’s an early show with doors at 7 PM.
The Ponderosa Stomp Foundation played a big role in getting the psychedelic/pop band to the Crescent City. Besides championing the R&B greats of New Orleans, the organizers of the Stomp also have presented numerous other bands often defined as “garage rock” such as ? and the Mysterians, Roky Erickson, the Seeds, the Sonics, and homegrown favorites such as Dr. Spec’s Optical Illusion, the Bad Roads, and the Gaunga Dyns. This Zombies appearance is another jewel in that crown.
Bloodshot Records is the hot label for up and coming bands mining the deep well of Americana music. Our own Luke Winslow King is on the label among many others. Banditos, the latest signee, hasn’t even released their album yet, but the buzz is growing. I guarantee the next time they come to town they won’t be playing such a small room.
Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, Banditos is a group of six 20-somethings, currently operating out of Nashville. Though don’t hold that against them. NPR recently premiered this track.
Their beginnings may sound stereotypical—the members of the band first met playing at D.I.Y., all-ages venues. In 2010, singer/guitarist Corey Parsons and singer/banjo player Stephen Pierce began busking around town and were soon asked to perform at their favorite local bar. Without a full band they invited friends Randy Wade (drums), Jeffrey Salter (guitar), and Mary Beth Richardson (vocals) to join them—but their sound is anything but ordinary.
The series of concerts in Armstrong Park begins on April 16, 2015 with a flash from the past. The iconic 1990s New Orleans reggae band, the Revealers, will be the first band to appear on the stage under the awning of the still-shuttered Municipal Auditorium.
It’s hard to believe the degree to which the park has recovered from damage that occurred almost ten years ago. Yet the auditorium is still in shambles. Credit the People United for Armstrong Park for preserving despite the wreck in its midst.
And preserve they have while raising the profile of the concert series with numerous bands pushing the envelope of the term “jazz.”
Zodiac parties have been all the rage in New Orleans for decades. All of them take place on weekends and feature bands culled from the favorites of the party planners. The Pisces party takes a different approach. The event is during the week allowing more musicians to attend, and they feature only musicians born under the fish sign. The organizers also emphasize “Fish-anthropy,” with all proceeds donated to an area non-profit each year.
This is also the first year that the group has a true headliner—the one and only Alvin Youngblood Hart (pictured at top).
Doors at the Blue Nile will open at 8 PM with DJ Black Pearl kicking off the night, followed by a short set and spiritual blessing by spirit-led vocal group, the Yemayayas (featuring Michaela Harrison, Sula Evans, Monica McIntyre, Thea Bashful, Martha Alguera, and Margie Perez).
On Saturday (2/28), expect to spend the whole day in the Faubourg Marigny as everybody’s favorite record store presents live music from 1-6 PM along with lots of camaraderie and freebies.
The Louisiana Music Factory has been around since 1992 and this is their third location after over twenty years in the upper French Quarter. The business is settling into a neighborhood teeming with music and music fans.
A recent visit last Saturday was a typical afternoon of in store performances. I arrived in time to catch the whole set from the 79ers Gang—a new Mardi Gras Indian group featuring chiefs from the seventh and ninth wards (hence their moniker). A large crowd swayed and clapped as the two chiefs alternated vocals and raised a mighty racket despite the fact that Carnival was already in the rear view window.
The Blue Nile helps you get a head start on festival season with two shows this week from artists with releases on Royal Potato Family Records. Marco Benevento plays Thursday night with Mike Dillon opening and Wil Blades returns on Saturday night.
Benevento is an adventurous keyboardist who is no stranger to New Orleans. Though his appearances tend to be around Jazz Fest, the last time I saw him was in late September 2013, which was a sold out show at the Blue Nile. He played with DaveDreiwitz on bass and Andy Borger on drums. Both will join him again on this tour.
During that performance, he mostly stuck to piano, but added some interesting effects that added up to a really big sound.
Mike Dillon opens the show tonight. He will feature Claude Coleman Jr. and JJ Jungle.