New Orleans artists to watch at Bear Creek

This weekend marks the annual Bear Creek Music & Art Festival at the Spirit of Suwanee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida. Each year a plethora of New Orleans acts make the trip to the funky, four-day party in the woods. The 2014 lineup is no different and boasts a Big Easy presence as strong as ever. If you love to funk (which you must if you’re at Bear Creek!) you surely love New Orleans music. Check out our list of the Crescent City’s local treasures that should not be missed.

Dumpstaphunk | First of all, there are 2 Nevilles in Dumpstaphunk. Does it get more royally New Orleans than that? Regardless of the group’s impressive musical lineage, Dumpstaphunk is a straight-up, booty shaking, awesome good time. Any fan of the funk knows what it means to, “put it in the dumpsta.” The five word command, sung and shouted by Ivan Neville, Tony Hall, and Ian Neville at their live shows implores the audience to throw away their troubles, hang ups, and negative energy and just have fun.

Tunes filled with heavy bass lines and gritty grooves make it impossible to stand still. Catch these guys hosting their Dumpstajam at Buffalo’s Amphitheater on Friday night at midnight. There will surely be some special guests from the Big Easy and beyond.

Lettuce | While these guys technically come from Brooklyn, trumpeter Eric Benny Bloom has called New Orleans home for almost a year. He’s been trying out soulful new grooves on the audience at the intimate Chickie Wah Wah on Tuesday nights, becoming a fixture in the local scene. One of the preeminent acts of the modern-day funk scene, Lettuce released a new album this Fall, so look out for new material during their Saturday set at the Purple Hat stage (10:15 PM).

Carly Meyers and Yojimbo | So you’ve been funking out for hours now, maybe days if you arrived Thursday, and you could use a change of pace. Go find Yojimbo at the DC’s Forest Stage (2:30 PM). These guys play totally fun, danceable music, but it’s a little more punk with a definite jazz infusion. Trombonist Carly Meyers (formerly of The Mike Dillon Band) is known for her stage antics often involving skull masks, streamers, and wild dance moves. Watch out for her throughout the festival, as she will be an artist at large. You can check out The Vinyl District’s exclusive video premiere of Yojimbo’s “Subliminal Socrates” here.

The Nth Power | Two-fiths of the Nth Power call New Orleans home—drummer Nicky Glaspie (formerly of Dumpstaphunk and Beyonce’s touring band The Sugar Mammas) and keyboardist Nigel Hall. Do not miss these guys! Glaspie is an absolute powerhouse and Nigel Hall and guitarist Nick Cassarino provide intoxicating, soulful vocals. Fun fact: except for groovy percussionist Weedie Braimah, everyone has a name that starts with N in this band, hence the name the Nth Power.

Khris Royal | Khris Royal is on a roll right now. In addition to leading his own band Khris Royal and Dark Matter, he recently joined on as a touring member of popular reggae group Rebelution. The Vinyl District caught up with this year’s artist at large who said, “Bear Creek is one of my favorite festivals. I look forward to it all year because it’s the only time I get to play with my fellow funksters.” The saxophonist has no definite set times, so keep your eyes out for him!

Nicholas Payton | New Orleans’ own Nicholas Payton is a true virtuoso. A technical giant, he is also challengingly original and his work is genre-defying, covering the breadth of jazz, rock, and funk. He’s played his clarion trumpet with everyone from Herbie Hancock to Trey Anastasio. Check him out Friday at the S.O.S. Music Hall with his trio (8:15). It’s a cool, New Orleans alternative for those not so keen on Umphrey’s McGee. If you can’t catch that, he will be playing around the festival as an artist-at-large.

Eric Vogel  | Eric Vogel is one of the three artist-at-large bass players this year at Bear Creek, along with Oteil Burbridge and George Porter Jr. That’s a pretty big deal for a younger player, and he knows it. Vogel told TVD, “I’m definitely honored to even be considered! Those guys have made such huge contributions to the bass and (to) music in general. I hope one day my contributions to the scene and to music in general will be able to find a tiny space next to them. These guys are giants and they are a couple of my biggest influences so it’s really a dream come true to see my name next to theirs.”

Come see for yourself why this monster on the bass can stand up next to Oteil and George  as an artist-at-large.

Earphunk | The energy this quintet brings to their live shows has propelled them from a small New Orleans band to a national touring act. Listen for new material Friday at the S.O.S. Music Hall (10 PM). They just released their latest album Sweet Nasty this past August.

The New Mastersounds | Okay, so these guys are really from across the pond (Leeds, England to be exact), but guitarist Eddie Roberts has been living in New Orleans  for almost a year now. Jamming with local cats in his side project West Coast Sounds, he can also be seen on Frenchman Street on any given weekend. Go see him with the group that made him a star Friday at the Buffalo’s Amphitheatre (Midnight) or Sunday at the Purple Hat Stage (6:15 PM)

George Porter Jr. | This list could not be complete without the man who started it all. Funk would not exist without the Meters, and then, neither might Bear Creek. George Porter Jr., the original funk bassist, will be floating around the festival as an artist at large. Respect your elders and go watch the man play.

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