The 2010 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival:
An “Easy D” Perspective: Thursday, April 29, 2010
The weather for Thursday looked like it would be the best of the entire weekend. Partly cloudy, breezy, high in low 80s. Nice! We arrived in time to see the first act of the day: Chief Iron Horse & the Black Seminoles Mardi Gras Indians at the Jazz & Heritage stage. Some of the Madi Gras Indian acts are a blast. This act was one of the better ones I’ve seen over the years.
Next it was a quick stroll through the food area en route to the Acura stage. One of the benefits of Thursday is that the festival is less crowded, hence the lines for the popular food items are nonexistent. The most popular item is Crawfish Monica, a delicious combination of crawfish, pasta, and a nicely spicy creamy sauce!
Next up: Kirk Joseph’s Backyard Groove at the Acura stage. Kirk is a sousaphone player and original member of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. He has also collaborated with Anders Osborne among others over the years. The current Backyard Groove lineup also features CR Gruver, a master keyboardist. Very entertaining set featuring a versatile horn section and nice backup vocals. I had learned from Kirk that he was having gall bladder issues a few weeks prior to the festival. He decided to try to deal with it nutritionally so that he could get through the festival gigs. He did not disappoint with this set. Stay well Kirk!
The ‘scenery’ around the stages was starting to build on this slow day. Let’s just say that some folks put together fest wardrobes and devised ways to be comfortable at the festival:
Next up: Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk at the Acura stage. Dumpstaphunk is by far one of my favorite bands. The funksters played the now familiar favorites such as Meanwhile, Turn This Thing Around, Shake It Off, Creedence Clearwater’s Fortunate Son. Music with a message. I know I put my troubles in the Dumpsta! Plus the crowds are starting to build. Dumpstaphunk lineup:
Ivan Neville – Keyboards and Vocals
Ian Neville – Guitar
Nick Daniels – Bass and Vocals
Tony Hall – Bass, Guitar and Vocals
Raymond Weber – Drums and Vocals
As the crowds build, the large video screens enhance the experience:
By this time, more of my extended entourage appeared including my Uptown New Orleans friends who traditionally stake out an area to the right of the Acura stage soundboard they call The Condo.
Next up: A quick stroll over the the Gentilly stage to catch the end of Amanda Shaw & the Cute Guys. Amanda Shaw is a 19 year old fiddle and vocal phenom who has been playing professionally for several years. I think the first time I saw her play at the festival, Amanda was 13. While she is building a catalog of original songs, she also plays fun covers such as Charlie Daniel’s The Devil Went Down to Georgia and The Clash’s Should I Stay or Should I Go. By the way, several years ago, Amanda turned down Disney’s offer of the title Hannah Montana role to sign with Rounder Records and pursue a serious music career.
Blind Man In The Dark
Broke Down on The Brazos
I’ll Be The One
While walking by the Fais Do Do stage, I ran into more of my Krewe who were watching Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie, an excellent zydeco band. Decided to stay here for a while; it was so good. Plus the dancers to the right of the Fais Do Do stage are always very entertaining:
Once arriving at the Gentilly stage, after listening to Steve Martin with the Steep Canyon Rangers for a few minutes, I quickly decided that the energy level was not up to the Jazz Fest scene. I am a fan of the Steep Canyon Rangers having seen them at the Delfest Bluegrass Festival last May. On this day, they just didn’t work for me. So it was back to the Acura stage to close the day with Widespread Panic. The band consists of :
JOHN BELL – guitars, vocals
JOHN “JOJO” HERMANN – keyboards, vocals
JIMMY HERRING – guitars
TODD NANCE – drums, vocals
DOMINGO S. ORTIZ – percussion, vocals
DAVE SCHOOLS – bass, vocals
This was the 3rd time that I have seen Widespread Panic at Jazz Fest. They always play on Thursday so that they can play a full 2 and a half hour set. This is the 2nd time I have seen the Panic since the death of guitarist Mikey Houser. While I miss Houser, the supremely skilled Jimmy Herring is a terrific replacement. Bandleader John Bell was in very fine voice, better than recent shows I have attended. They performed a couple of my favorites including Imitation Leather Shoes, Ophelia, and the excellent Mikey Houser tune This Part of Town. Here is a snippet of lyrics from This Part of Town, music with a message IMHO:
I was walkin’ the other day with my head down,
When I met a man who had his hand out.
So I gave him, gave him a dollar,
But as I walked away I heard him call out,
“Tell me Brother, can you see the sun
From where you’re standin’ now?
I’ve been up and I’ve been down,
But I’ve never been to this part of town.”
Here is the Widespread Panic set list:
Love Tractor, Pigeons, Space Wrangler, Walkin’ (For Your Love) > Blight, Thought Sausage, Imitation Leather Shoes > Jam > Proving Ground, Down*, Walk On The Flood > North, Up All Night** >Tall Boy**, Good People (w/Dark Bar Rap)**, On Your Way Down**> Bust It Big**,Ophelia** > You Should Be Glad**,This Part Of Town, Aint Life Grand*
Comment: *w/John Keane on Pedal Steel — **w/The Megablasters
Oh by the way, it was a party at The Condo:
Well, after this glorious day, we worked our way back to the hotel. While working our way through the cab line, I tripped on an uneven sidewalk and fell on my right hip. Fortunately or unfortunately, I broke the fall with my camera pouch. I was uninjured, but my camera was a casualty. I will have to depend on others in my Krewe for the remaining installments.
After returning to the hotel, I was tired and in need of a shower and nap. My ‘power nap’ ended up lasting 10 hours. Best sleep I’ve had in years. So, no club show report for Thursday evening. Next installment: Friday.