Longtime festers refer to the only Thursday on the Jazz Fest schedule as “Slacker’s Day.” It’s also Kids’ Day so expect to see lots of New Orleans public school children and their smiling faces if you get there early in the day. The full lineup is here.
The Acura stage is strong with jam bands all day culminating in another appearance by Widespread Panic. The opening act, TAUK, is one I had to look up to find out what they are all about. They are a hard charging, instrumental four-piece that will definitely wake the neighborhood with their prog rock fusion sound. Check ‘em out below.
For something decidedly different and fresh, head over to the Jazz Tent for Trumpet Mafia. This new band is led by Ashlin Parker and has seven, count them, seven trumpeters. They have been making waves on the Frenchmen Street scene. Read More
PHOTOS: “BATON ROUGE” BILL BOELENS | For some, rain is the bane of the Jazz Fest in New Orleans. For others, it’s more of a mixed blessing since it cools you off, opens up opportunities to hear new bands, and keeps away the rookies. But the worst thing about bad weather is the slight chance that the music will be silenced. And that is exactly what happened on Friday afternoon.
Storms were forecast for both Friday and Saturday, so veteran festers were prepared. But when big red splotches began appearing on radar screens around 5 PM Friday, rain gear was readied. I was in the Jazz Tent checking out Snarky Puppy when the organizers pulled the plug. It was just too risky to allow the music to continue since hundreds of lightning strikes were being reported west of New Orleans.
But the day began auspiciously with the Jazz Fest debut of Earphunk. I have been watching this band mature and despite a late, late gig Thursday evening, they brought the goods. Most likely sleepless, one guitarist remarked than it felt like a dream to be on stage at Jazz Fest. Then he thanked the crowd for being part of the moment and said, “We’re gonna remember this day forever.”
The two Saturdays at the Jazz Fest are the most popular days and the organizers capitalize on the fact by bringing in the most popular bands creating a schedule rivaling any festival in the world. Saturday, April 25 is no exception with The Who, John Legend, and Ryan Adams facing off against Kenny Garrett and Robert Cray on the biggest stages. And that’s not even mentioning the local acts. The full lineup is here.
One of the tricks to enjoying the most crowded days at Jazz Fest is to get there early so you beat the lines for food and everything else. Start your day with Tank and the Bangas. This young funky soul band from New Orleans has been getting a lot of well-deserved love from TVD. Check them out for yourself.
Get yourself over to the Congo Square stage for 12:30 PM for Tony Hall and the Soul Stars Tribute to James Brown. Hall, who currently plays bass, guitar, and sings in Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, has been leading this all-star tribute for the past eight years to celebrate the birthday of the Godfather of Soul.
The culmination of festival season is upon us! The ten-day run that is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. The 2015 edition has something for everyone. Here are our picks for opening day at the New Orleans Fairgrounds. The full schedule is here.
Start your day off early with Earphunk. This jamming band from New Orleans tours extensively bringing sterling electric guitar work and occasionally goofy stage antics to crowds around the country. With two singers and two separate vocal styles, they bring to mind a funkier Grateful Dead complete with percolating organ work.
I have not seen Paul Sanchez’s new band Minimum Rage yet, but I love the name. He is also presenting special guests, the Write Brothers, during his set. This songwriting supergroup features Sanchez alongside Spencer Bohren, Alex McMurray, and Jim McCormick. Special insider’s note—the rhythm section for the Write Brothers is none other than Andre Bohren (Spencer’s son—but you knew that) on drums and Dave Pomerleau on bass. Those are two of the Dirty Notes!
Trumpeter Maurice Brown is in town to play with the Tedeshi Trucks Band today. He also will be appearing with his own band in the Jazz Tent at 1:30 PM. This is an addition to the original release of the cubes.
New Orleans’ favorites Yojimbo debut their new video “Happy Birthday to the Dead” exclusively with TVD today. Shot at a backyard party in the Bywater, the band had attendees don white sheets for an impromptu concert.
The video encapsulates Yojimbo’s playful exploration of the fine line between life and death, a theme that runs through the entirety of their latest album Ghost Birthdays. Look for the ghost in the background wearing a fedora; sillier things may never have been seen.
You can check Yojimbo out around town this Jazz Fest. April 29 they will be hosting the Misfit Party at the HiHo Lounge along with Skerik, Jacob Fred, and DJ Sir Real. This should be an awesome show. Skerik and Yojimbo’s Carly Meyers are some of the pre-eminent horn players in the funk world, and seeing them tear it up together will be an unparalleled experience.
You can also check Yojimbo out 4/26 with Yikes! at Sydney’s, 4/27 at the Maison (opening for DARKWAVE), 4/30 at the Hi Ho with Yugen and Slangston Hughes, and 5/3 for AZZFEST with Batebunda.
Yojimbo Official | Facebook | Twitter
“I closed my eyes and kept thinking of what a weird, spaced out, futuristic juke joint might be like and the music you would find there.” That was Brian J’s inspiration for Pimps of Joytime’s third album Jukestone Paradise out today. Read on to find out how to win a copy of the new album on vinyl.
The album, like the POJT’s past offerings, is impossibly fun. Even if you knew nothing about the Brooklyn quintet, could a band called The Pimps of Joytime make an album that was anything but entertaining? J, the creative force behind the group, takes every genre of music that could possibly make you want to move, whether it be Latin, funk, disco, psychedelic, or electronic, and puts it together in one heady brew, something he has called, “the Pimp’s Pot.”
This new release has a more pronounced electronic/disco feel than past offerings and there is definitely a space vibe permeating even the funkiest, earthiest tracks. On album standout “Heart is Wild,” psychedelic, cosmic breaks infuse the song, creating a vibe that really is out of this world. It’s the kind of song where you really can’t decide if you want to get up or get down.
The Maison on Frenchmen Street usually hosts local bands spanning the spectrum of musical stylings in New Orleans. But occasionally they book a touring band, and when they do, the band is generally worth checking out. This Friday night, Houston’s own The Suffers make a stop at the club performing at 10 PM.
The band, which formed in 2011, will remind listeners of some of the acts appearing on the Daptone label, particularly soul shouter Sharon Jones. Fronted by the dynamic singer Kam Franklin, The Suffers also includes a full horn section and a super tight rhythm section.
While Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings come across as pure retro soul, The Suffers add a bit of Latin spice courtesy of percussionist Jose “Chapy” Luna. While the two guitarists also provide a rock ‘n’ roll punch to the 10-piece ensemble’s sound.
With twenty-three stages in action from 11 AM until 8:45 PM on Saturday and until 7 PM on Sunday, there is something for every music lover at the French Quarter Festival. There are also two club-affiliated stages, at the House of Blues and the Royal Sonesta, going even later. Here are our picks for the weekend. The full schedule is here.
The Roots of Music program has generated national attention while providing musical and life lessons to hundreds of New Orleans middle and high school students. Since the program’s inception, the music has just gotten better and better. The band kicks off the Abita stage on Saturday at 11 AM. If you have not seen these kids, do yourself a favor and check out the future of New Orleans music in action.
Indie rock bands don’t get a lot of love at the various festivals in New Orleans due to our focus on the culture and traditions of New Orleans. Last year, I saw the Honorable South at the Jazz Fest and was impressed by their attitude playing to a crowd with no idea who they were. I was also impressed with the music. Fronted by the vivacious and spellbinding rock ’n’ soul goddess, vocalist/ songwriter Charm Taylor (pictured at top), the group rocks out with melodic precision.
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.