The number of stages more than doubles from Thursday as the 2015 fest heats up before the official weekend. The footprint expands to Spanish Plaza for the new Outlets at Riverwalk stage, into the French Market, and around the Old U.S. Mint. Here are our picks. The full schedule is here.
Kick off your day with Marc Stone on the Riverfront Pavilion at 11 AM. Stone is an eclectic guitarist, bandleader, and hardcore musicologist (as well as WWOZ programmer) who mines a variety of styles falling under the catch-all genre, the blues. He always brings the best musicians to the stage casting a spell over audiences.
The New Orleans Klezmer Allstars are musicians from a variety of genres and musical influences coming together to play eastern European folk music with a very jazzy touch. They are veteran players that don’t play together often enough anymore.
For the fourth year in a row, TVD is proud to be a media sponsor of the biggest free festival in the south which has gotten even bigger this year with new stages including the Omni Royal Orleans stage at the 500 block of Royal Street. Here are our picks for the first day. The full schedule is here.
As usual, the day kicks off bright and early with a parade beginning in the 100 block of Bourbon Street at 10 AM. The Orleans Brass Band will lead revelers and dignitaries to Jackson Square where PresHall Brass will get the live music started at 11:15 AM.
The venerable institution has been branching out into many different directions, including some, which have brought out the “moldy figs,” but pleased more daring listeners. PresHall Brass should offend no one, as they are a brass band representing the great New Orleans traditions.
The Canadian indie-pop group Stars, known for making perfectly orchestrated electronic infused rock, will be coming to town on Tuesday for a show at the Republic. Stars is not your typical pop/rock/electronic outfit. Their music is dark, introspective, and incredibly well thought out, with influences as diverse and varied as The Smiths, DJ Rashad, and Motown.
The band recorded their most recent album, 2014’s No One Is Lost, in a studio above a gay disco in Montreal. While working on the album they could hear and feel bass from the club below and were inspired to “out throb the throb.” That throb makes much of their new material quite danceable and less stiff than their earlier offerings.
Still, Stars’ can’t seem to shake a Type-A vibe that runs throughout their work, probably because their songs are so precise. House beats, disco guitars, background vocals, and sweeping lyrics almost make it sound like you are listening to a books-on-tape remix of the track “From the Night,” a noted departure from earlier, slower work like “Sleep Tonight.”
“Winter” will make its last gasp in New Orleans overnight Friday as a “cold” front comes through. Saturday highs will make it into the low 70s. In other words, the Freret Street Festival will be the last fest without sweating a little until fall. Here’s a look at my highlights.
With three stages and music all day, including some buzz bands, the Freret Street Festival is growing right along with its namesake street. First up at 11 AM is Social Set. This new band features a compelling female/male dichotomous energy and plays rock with a funky indie bent. I have not seen them live yet, but expect them to begin making waves on the New Orleans scene.
On the other end of the career longevity spectrum are the Caesar Brothers who are returning to the Freret Street Festival at 12:05 PM. Led by Norman on keys and Rickey on drums, they are inheritors of the uptown funk of the Neville Brothers. The musicians have a decades-long track record including performing on one of the first brass band/hip hop hybrid albums in the 1990s with Jason Neville’s project, DEFF Generation.
Papa Mali celebrates the release of his latest recording, Music Is Love this Friday at Chickie Wah Wah, with an all-star backing band featuring the musicians appearing on the album—Johnny Vidacovich (drums), Mike Dillon (vibraphone, tablas), Cassandra Faulconer (bass), Dave Easley (pedal steel), Josh Paxton (Hammond organ, piano, farfisa), and The Harmonaires (vocals).
Music Is Love was released on March 17, 2015 via 429 Records. The veteran guitarist and vocalist recorded at The Living Room in New Orleans with producer John Chelew (Blind Boys of Alabama, Vic Chesnutt, Richard Thompson, and John Hiatt). The album showcases his distinctive knack for blending elements of roots rock, R&B, blues, gospel, folk, and psychedelia.
With Music Is Love, Papa Mali continues to build on his standing as a distinctive artist within the Crescent City musical community. The album reflects his deep appreciation and respect for legendary artists such as Dr. John, The Meters, Lee Dorsey, Fats Domino, Johnny Adams and others.
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.
Michael Maleki, a young Iranian-American producer also known as Kodak to Graph, is one of the most interesting new artists on the electronic music scene. Discovered by fellow Gainesville natives Hundred Waters, his soundscape is influenced heavily by the locales of his present and future.
Maleki grew up in the swamps of northern Florida, and the found nature sounds of birds and running water inform his work as much as the edgy scene he has become a part of in his adopted Los Angeles home.
The juxtaposition of these wildly different vibes in Maleki’s tracks create a listening experience that is somehow both relaxing and intoxicatingly fun.
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.
J. Cole released 2014’s best selling hip-hop album, Forest Hills Drive, which sold over 300,000 copies in its first week; a huge feat in the age of streaming, Spotify, and Pandora. However, there is a good chance you haven’t heard any of the songs from the album, given that Cole accomplished all of this without a radio single.
Tonight you should change that. Cole will be taking the stage this evening at the House of Blues along with three of the genre’s most exciting up-and-coming artists: Bas, Cozz, and Omen.
All three cult sensations are part of Cole’s Dreamville/Interscope Records imprint, which means that Cole guested on and had a role in producing each of their albums.
Despite all being in the same music family, each of the artists will bring their own unique style to the stage. If Cole is the wise patriarch of the bunch, musing anti-consumerist thoughts on Letterman, then Cozz is the fresh-faced youth.
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?