Mid City Bayou Boogaloo Picks, 5/20–5/22

Festival season continues in New Orleans with the 11th iteration of the Mid City Bayou Boogaloo. Conceived as a way to help the neighborhood recover, which was devastated in the floods following the federal levee failures after Hurricane Katrina, the event is now an eagerly awaited addition to the live music calendar in New Orleans. The full schedule is here.

This year, thanks to a major grant, the festival welcomes some serious heavy hitters in addition to the local bands which are its mainstay. Friday evening culminates with a performance by the legendary reggae band, the Wailers and Saturday concludes with a performance by the Lowrider Band—the founders of the great funk and soul band, War. Local favorite and R&B legend Irma Thomas is also on the bill.

Friday kicks off at 5 PM with a performance by The Quickening. The guitarist Blake Quick leads the band. They play originals and covers with a deft touch hinting at jam band favorites amid New Orleans funk grooves. The band will feature veteran pedal steel player Dave Easley. He led a Grateful Dead cover band, the Heartifacts, back in the day and always adds a great touch to the proceedings.

On Saturday, I am really looking forward to seeing ROAR! for the first time. This duo featuring simultaneous multi-instrumentalists Carly Meyers and Adam Gertner is a young band with lots of energy and great original music. Their videos have been featured on TVD and listeners will remember the musicians from their work in Yojimbo and a stint backing vibraphonist/ percussionist Mike Dillon.

On Sunday, Rory Danger and the Danger Dangers are at the top of my list. Led by saxophonist/ clarinetist/ vocalist Aurora Nealand, this month’s OffBeat magazine cover subject, the band ostensibly plays rockabilly music, but they are so much more.

A recent performance at the French Quarter Fest featured all manner of theatrics and climaxed with Nealand crawling off the stage after playing dead, slithering across the front of the audience, and sliding down a small flight of stairs before immersing herself in the Spanish Plaza fountain! She returned to the stage soaking wet to conclude the show.

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