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Terminal 5 Event Poster

Terminal 5 Event Poster

The Royal Family Ball @ Terminal 5 (10.02.10)

It was a night New Yorkers and beyond had been waiting for since it was first announced back in July.  The Royal Family would be taking over Terminal 5 for a night of pure FUNKY RAGE hosting their 3rd Annual Royal Family Ball. Knowing that The Royal Family is a tight brotherhood that rolls deep with love, we die hard fans  knew it would be a special night.  A night to remember, a night of complete surprises, a night of of complete funk, of blues, of rock ‘n’ roll.  A night requiring us to dance till we drop….simply a night we would NEVER forget.

Event Poster: The Royal Family Dream Team

Event Poster: The Royal Family Dream Team

For months, we have eagerly awaited this night.  The Royal Family had enticing little offers before the show such as rewarding the first 100 people to purchase a ticket with an autographed poster of The Royal Family.  Man, what a hilarious treat.  I, of course, jumped on that offer, buying my ticket at 12:01 pm, right when they went on sale, closing the sale out at 12:03pm.  Sadly, I didn’t get a poster but many of my friends did.  I will some how rectify this 😉 You can be sure of that!

The importance of this night and the energy behind it hit me the second I woke up Saturday morning.  I felt like it was Christmas.  As much music as I see, this was a show that had me jumping on my toes.  The anticipation was palpable.  For weeks before the big night, I had numerous friends from outside NY toy with the idea of coming in for the show.  However it was my dear friend Andy who was the only one to make the trip from Baltimore for the day/night.

“Street fair arepas… Gut bomb. Royal Family Revue… Funk bomb.” ~ Andy D.

They handed out party favors...

They handed out party favors...

This was one of those events where traveling would be worth it.  My phone had been blowing up all night prior to the show with friends wondering what was going down before the Rage.  In the end, we summoned all our favorite Ragers to a “Ragehearsal,” as one of my dear friends has come to so aptly name our rendezvous before the shows.  Everyone was eager to make a day of it.  A 24-hour rage.  The EPICNESS of what tonight might bring to our eyes and ears was lost on no one.

“Royals, you shook me, you shook me all night long. Powerful stuff.” ~ Robert M.

Of all the years I have been an Eric Krasno junkie, I have never been part of such a complete day and night full of The Royal Family.  And the best part about it…there were guests.  Oh yes, there were guests. Tonight’s rage would include performances by:

The Royal Family

Soulive

Lettuce

The Nigel Hall Band

Chapter 2

The Shady Horns

Special Guests

John Scofield – Guitar

Warren Haynes – Guitar

Talib Kweli – Rapper

Big Sam Williams – Trombone

The Shady Horns

Maurice Brown – Trumpet

Christian Scott – Trumpet

Spinning between sets: DJ Equal

Terminal 5 doors opened at 6:30pm and we were all in the building by 7:30pm, not wanting to miss a single minute of the show.  The venue was far from packed but by the end of the night, the 3,000-person venue was packed in on all sides. It was a night filled to the brim with the EPITOME of Funk, Soul, Blues, Rock, Hip-Hop and more. They play it all ladies and gentleman. And it all began, as it almost always does, with a set from The Nigel Hall Band. Let’s get this Royal Party started…..

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

The Nigel Hall Band @ 7:30/8:00pm

Nigel Hall – Keys, Vocals

Eric Krasno – Bass

Adam Deitch – Drums

Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff – Guitar

Sam Kininger -Saxophone

Ryan Zoidis – Alto & Baritone Saxophone

Maurice Brown – Trumpet

Alan Evans – Backup vocals

Lindsay Lucas – Backup vocals

Mel Flannery – Backup vocals

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

MVP OF THE NIGHT – It just needs to be said, flat out, hands down!!! ROYAL FAMILY MVP!  Nigel Hall started the show, performed throughout the show and closed the show with the highest elevation of energy and the full embodiment of what RAGE truly entails. He had been rehearsing for weeks with new back-up singers and the rest of the crew to deliver what was quite possibly the greatest performance I had ever seen him lay out on a stage.  As soon as I started seeing Nigel Hall perform many moons ago, I started recognizing a pattern prior to his performances and the pattern goes a little something like this…..

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Arriving early, I walk around the venue, listening to the audience talking.  Many are not sure of who this magnificent singing, keys player is who will be opening for whatever Royal Family Project is slated to open that night.  You hear a few people explain  “It’s Nigel Hall!” but they do not elaborate.  “Who is this Nigel Hall” you hear them wondering out loud?  I always want to stop and answer each one of them but I know that Nigel will be answering for himself as soon as the music starts.   And then he starts performing…and if not by the end of the first song, by the end of the second song the audience is locked in, jaws on the ground asking everyone around them, WHO IS THIS GUY!!!!?? But this time, they are really looking for answers, they actually care and are invested…floored by this magical singing machine.

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

And so it was this night.  I walked around the venue listening to people talking about what might happen on stage this night.  Noticing so many people asking about the opener, Nigel Hall.  What those around me didn’t realize yet was that he would steal the show.

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Tonight The Nigel Hall Band consisted of a thick wall of solid musicians that we all recognized and a few new faces to the mix.  His back up band consisted of those listed above.  Eric Krasno, the King of the Royal Family, supporting his fellow Family member on bass guitar.  Alan Evans stepping out of his drummer seat to sing backup vocals while Adam Deitch destroyed the drum kit.  Not wanting to be left out, from my second level perch I noticed Neal Evans hanging over by Deitch striking things with a single drum stick.  You might not have noticed him if you were on the ground level in front of the stage.

This was also the first time I had seen backup singers.  Lindsay Lucas and Mel Flannery‘s voices, supported by Alan Evans, melted seamlessly with Nigel‘s smooth vocals. This line-up of The Nigel Hall Band hit a home run. To begin, the stage was set with each member on stage, warming up the mics and the instruments for a funky introduction which Nigel steps out to in an orange Argyle sweater with a smile so wide I couldn’t help but mirror the image. And so it began…right into Hang It Up.

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Wait Till I Get Home had the Shady Horns completely blowing up the stage.  Ryan Zoidis completely standing out on the baritone sax.  Everywhere I looked…smiles. Second song in and the place was on fire. This is EXACTLY what Nigel Hall is meant to do and by GOD he does a GREAT job.  Never Know saw the Shady Horns exit and Krasno and Smirnoff backing Nigel on keys through the slow and smooth flow.

“I loved the show. I felt that Nigel stood out as there were many great musicians but only 1 best singer. I myself was born under a bad sign so I can relate.” ~ Josh R.

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Gimmie a Sign upped the funk meter ten-fold with Nigel funking up the keys.  He then takes a moment to explain to the audience, “This is a song that has stuck with me over many years after I heard this song as a young boy. I hope you enjoy it.” And while Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff completely let loose on his guitar, Nigel sang a soulful Baby, I Do Love You.

Give it up for the Horns,” screams Nigel.  With Never Gonna Let You Go closing out his set, Nigel Hall sang smoothly as his backup singers filled in when he walked off the stage.  And as Ryan Zoidis soloed on his axe of funk, Nigel came running back on stage, grabbing the mic, screaming “NEVER! NEVER! NEVEEEEER!”  His passion and his lust for life provides a fuel to his energy that is unmatched.  And this was only the first set 🙂

Nigel Hall Setlist: Intro, Hang It Up, Wait Till I Get Home, Too Sweet, Never Know, Gimme A Sign, Baby I Do Love You, Never Gonna Let You Go

Download: Nigel Hall Band @ Terminal 5 (10/02.10) – It is located under Lettuce’s Set

 

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

NOTE TO TAPERS!!  TAPE NIGEL’S SETS and post them.  Where is the love??? He is just as much a part of this raging cycle of music as anyone of them.  Just sayin….get with the program on that tip please.

After Nigel’s set, I decided to move from my second floor perch to ride the rail with my friends for a bit.  Sadly, my crew was situated right in front of the DJ Booth. However, I could see neither drums nor the horns.  Absolutely couldn’t stand that option for the rest of the night.  Even though I wanted to chill with my friends, I thought, well, I do that every night and this was a show I really had to SEE and inhale completely. So, I reserved myself to chillin on the second perch alone while my crew raged the rail! As it should be 🙂 Watching them, waving to them, laughing with them, we were all still connected as I was completely visible to them.  This was actually a part of the night that enhanced my happiness.  Seeing them react to Warren coming on stage…their faces, their jumping, screaming, hugging. Perfection.

DJ Equal spins in between sets

DJ Equal spins in between sets

Lettuce @ 8:45/9:00pm

Eric Krasno – Guitar

E.D. “Jesus” Combes – Bass, Vocals

Adam Deitch – Drums

Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff – Guitar

Neal Evans – Keys, Vocals

Sam Kinninger -Saxophone

Ryan Zoidis – Alto & Baritone Saxophone

Alan Evans – Percussion

Special Guests:

Big Sam Williams – Trombone

Maurice Brown – Trumpet

Christian Scott – Trumpet

John Scofield – Guitar

Talib Kweli – Rapper

Nigel Hall – Keys, Vocals

Set II: Lettuce w/ Talib Kweli, Big Sam, John Scofield

Set II: Lettuce w/ Talib Kweli, Big Sam, John Scofield

Set II: Lettuce w/ Talib Kweli, Big Sam, John Scofield

Set II: Lettuce w/ Talib Kweli, Big Sam, John Scofield

Soul singer Hall left the stage and was replaced by DA FUNKY FUNK!!!! One of my top ten favorite groups to have formed on this earth: LETTUCE.  Going on a little before/after 9pm, the entire original crew graced the stage, to include the rare appearance by E.D. “Jesus” Combes on bass.  Living on the West Coast, he is constantly working with big names such as Eminem, Dr. Dre and played bass and wrote/produced several tracks on Britney Spears new album Blackout.  I love E.D. “Jesus” Combes because he puts a lot of thought into the notes he chooses to play, sometimes bursting to the front of the stage with a blast of funk through his body. He totally grinds into his playing which I LOVE!.  He stands out with understated effort because his sound is unusual and not forced. You just got to hear him to understand.

“Excellent night all around. Nigel and Soulive were incredible, but Lettuce especially blew me away! Check out the rooftop area for a breather between sets. Nice joint!” ~ Markus S.

The stellar cast on stage played a handful of favorites to include Blast Off, Sam Huff’s Flying Ragin’ Machine and Last Suppitt before bringing out the guests.  Let it be made very clear that Lettuce completely set the stage on fire even without the guests.  They truly are so tight and on point every time and we were enjoying them so much.  The guests were simply a blessed bonus.  My hands were on the railing of my ledge and I was literally head banging with so much fury as their energy coursed through me.  The horn section with it’s supplements was completely out of control. FIRE FUNK!

Set II: Lettuce w/ Talib Kweli

Set II: Lettuce w/ Talib Kweli

“Talib was money” ~ Eric S.

“You have my quote on the evening… “Tits on bacon.” ~ Andy D.

The first guest and a personal favorite of the night was Talib Kweli.  Rapper’s delight. He brought such an unusual layer to the revue. Bringing the urban into an already straight up funky urban rage, he rapped through Move Something.

The whole joint start shakin

This ain’t the time or place for you to prove something

Cut the stargazin’ yo, move somethin’! ~ Talib Kweli

 

Set II: Lettuce w/ Talib & Nigel

Set II: Lettuce w/ Talib & Nigel

The Blast saw Nigel Hall back on stage as he joined in on vocals with Talib KweliNigel, man, the guy can do it all.  Albeit, he is not a rapper in my mind and probably never will be.  He did, however, bring a soulful layer to his rapping that Talib couldn’t touch as he continued to rap over/under Nigel.  “Jazzfest energy” was a term I heard among my friends to describe the energy of Talib‘s trio of songs ending with Get By.

Little focus on Nigel‘s vocals……

Set II: Lettuce

Set II: Lettuce

Talib and Nigel leave the stage for the originals, led by the ever amazing Eric Krasno, rage through Break Out and Relax. Eric Krasno, relentless, captivating.  His sound and style, one you could pick out of any crowd of guitar players.  Powerful musician…wonderful band leader.  With all his projects and large catalog of musicians under his Royal Family records, Eric Krasno ensures that our nights in NYC are constantly filled with talented musical projects and shows. I can’t imagine the city without Krasno, Deitch and the lot.  And here he was showcased in front of all his projects together in one night. Then as if things could get any better…John Scofield joined the stage…enjoy his warm up…

John Scofield, a legend.  A complete and utter master at his trade. Being billed right off the bat, this was one of the highlights of the show that everyone was anticipating that evening.  The Flu… it was amazing.  John took a little time to warm up in my opinion but then it got rowdy.  The horns were grimy, popping in sounds that reminded me of Skerik.  It got powerful. The guitar standing out on top of it all, the audience slightly more quiet now, just watching it unfold.

The Shady Horns with Big Sam on trombone was out of this world.  Orchestral.  Everything was so tight and then Scofield would go off into trippy spacey scratching of the guitar making faces to match.  He is endless with the sounds he can produce with a guitar.

Set II: Lettuce

Set II: Lettuce

And with a gracious introduction from Alan Evans, with the horns blasting out his name and with John Scofield still in the mix, Nigel Hall was brought back on stage to perform their Curtis Mayfield staple, Move On Up. As many times as I have heard Nigel sing this song and heard he say he was sick of singing it, this version was STELLAR!!! My video is not so great so just turn it down a little lower to hear it and watch it…

The one below is only 1 minute but much better sound. Thought I’d give ya everything 😉

One of the deepest, funkiest, raging songs of the night: Making My Way Back Home, a song about Nigel’s hometown of Washington, DC. Raised three hours away in Williamsburg, Virgina, I relate to this song well. The bass line is killer in  this song. Nigel, so interactive with the audience, breaks it down and just continually bringing the energy UP, UP, UP Chuck Brown-style!!! SARDINES & KRAZ AND SCHMEENS!!

Lettuce Setlist: Intro, Blast Off Sam Huff’s Flying Ragin’ Machine, Last Suppitt, King of the Bergs, Move Something, The Blast, Get By, Break Out, Relax, The Flu, Move On Up, Makin My Way Back Home

Download: Lettuce Live at Terminal 5 on 2010-10-02 (October 2, 2010)

Breaksciene’s Afterparty at The Loving Cup’s Cameo was announced and the merchandise was plugged….and the headlining group was finally announced.  Soulive.  Live it, learn it, love them!

Dj Equal spinning away...

Dj Equal spinning away...

Soulive @ 10:30/10:45pm

Eric Krasno – Guitar

Neal Evans – Keys, bass

Alan Evans – Drums

Special Guests:

Warren Haynes – Guitar

Big Sam Williams – Trombone

Rashawn Ross – Trumpet

Sam Kinninger -Saxophone

Ryan Zoidis – Alto & Baritone Saxophone

Maurice Brown – Trumpet

Christian Scott – Trumpet

John Scofield – Guitar

Nigel Hall – Keys, Vocals

Set III: Soulive + Shady Horns

Set III: Soulive + Shady Horns

Keys + Bass = Amazing

Keys + Bass = Amazing

You know about Soulive right? One of the greatest trios ever IMHO!! I sure hope you know who they are and if not, check them out. It’s a trio comprised of the virtuoso guitar player, Eric Krasno, drums played by Alan Evans and then there is Neal Evans who plays keys.  The standout detail about this group is that Neal also plays the bass through the second layer of his keys.  Seriously.  Now…what kind of brain can do that?  That takes a complicated mind right there.   Such a cool combination of sounds/notes/vibes.

Set III: Soulive + Shady Horns

Set III: Soulive + Shady Horns

Soulive came out dressed in stylish suits and slammed into Beatles tunes.  Their latest CD release, Rubber Soulive, has been something of a hot topic among talented music circles.  It’s luscious, loud and worth every single penny.  Bringing their own touch to classic Beatles tune such as Come Together, Something in the Way, and Eleanor Rigby, it’s just superb. Sing alongs ensued.  Come Together found it’s way into everyone’s throats and the audience sang for their tickets as Soulive played for  their lives. Jazz-filled funky rock. The following video is a wonderful collection of all the Beatles tunes.  Sit back, turn it up and watch the magic.  Best video of the article 🙂  Everyone say “Thank you Mike!”

Krasno completely ripped open the songs, jamming us all into the floor.  Backed by the brothers of rage, the Beatles medley was one of the highlights of the show. I Want You (She’s So Heavy) was on a different level all together. Everyone thank my boy Scott for the excellent video below!!

“Was really great to see Soulive hit a comfort level with the Beatles material that they really ripped into it- I want you (She’s so heavy) seemed to really hit another gear of nastiness as they did with that song what most instrumentalists I know have always wanted to do with it.” ~ Russ A.

Set III: Shady Horns + some!!

Set III: Shady Horns + some!!

And once the covers of the Rubber Soulive were done they blasted into their oldies but raging goodies with The Shady Horns (Sam Kinninger & Ryan Zoidis) joining the stage for El Ron.  The place was utterly packed and from my second floor perch, I could see everyone moving, groovin’ and clapping.  Christian Scott had joined the rage and John Scofield joins the stage again for What You See Is What You Get. Granted, Scofield is a god, but this song was stolen by Christian Scott‘s trumpet solo and Neal Evans‘s keys.

At this point, the show starts elevating into a high point that seems unreachable.  Time for a horn rage.  By this time Maurice Brown and Rashawn Ross have joined Christian Scott and the Shady Horns. A horn rage ensues but where is Big Sam Williams on the trombone?? Oh man….well, he tried to join the horn ledge, however, Christian Scott had taken his microphone so NOLA represented.  Walking behind the drum kit to the front of the stage, Big Sam took over Eric Krasno‘s vocal mic for an intense in-your-face solo.  Enjoy! (Turn down volume a bit – it’s one of mine)

Set III: Soulive!

Set III: Soulive!

It was time for Scofield to lead the show with one from his own catalog, the funk rock original Hottentot!! The whisper through the audience after this song was loud.  This song choice made a lot of people happy, as it should.  The song allowed for he & Krasno to trade licks and let loose for a great jam, which I thought might lead to the beginning of the end of Scofield’s addition to the stage, until possibly the encore.  Boy….I had no idea what I was thinking.  The best was totally yet to come…..

Since the album version was my ringtone for years, the surprise bust-out of Sco’s “Hottentot” was probably one of my favorite highlights. It had a slightly slower, nastier vibe to it that I really enjoyed. ~ Andy D.

WARREN joins the stage...

WARREN joins the stage...

And if you just watched the video above, then the end just gave it away but THE BEST WAS TOTALLY YET TO COME!!!  Warren Haynes……….WARREN HAYNES joined the stage.  I literally grabbed the bars in front of me and screamed at the top of my lungs while flailing around.  I couldn’t believe it.  I just couldn’t believe it.  What is more unbelievable is I had to tell all the people around me who that even was.  I believe they were there for Talib Kweli but they had NO clue who Warren was.  Unreal.  And so it was that the venue erupted into a ball of energy that the night had yet to see.

Set III: Soulive + Warren + Sco

Set III: Soulive + Warren + Sco

Born Under A Bad Sign, a song made popular by Cream and originally written by the legendary blues guitarist, Albert King.  Yes SIR!!  HOLY YES!!!!!!  What can I say about this?  It was phenomenal.  Warren Haynes, John Scofield and Eric Krasno on the stage at one time…kidding me?  Nigel Hall came out and sang alternating verses with Warren Haynes and there were mixed reviews over this move but I thought it was superb. Nigel, once again adding a layer to the mix that just felt right.

“Nigel’s voice is always a special treat. Being a longtime Soulive fan, I really appreciated their take on the Beatles. Oh Eleanor Rigby! Thank you Soulive, Nigel Hall and the whole crew for getting so many wonderful musicians together all on one stage for this major collaboration!” ~ Jessica B.

I’m actually a little torn on Nigel.  I think Warren could have held the vocals down on “Born Under a Bad Sign” on his own, though Nigel did rip Too Much and the JB mini set. ~ Russ A.

I always did say Warren sings like an angel. ~ Jessica B.

This was just such a treat. You had Big Sam on his trombone as well.  I mean, the $25 ticket was paid for so long ago but if anyone had any qualms, they were silenced by this mega, face-melting guitar threesome horn flip-out.  Nigel‘s voice was killer.  Warren was killer. The horns were unmatched.  Scofield was melting into the floor with his guitar.  Unreal.  For a minute, I forgot who I was there to watch.  Wondering who the true star of the show truly was. Scofield left the stage and the rest of the set was Nigel Hall tearing up the vocals and Soulive blasting the stage apart with funky goodness. It was so great!

(Doin the 2 Video is uploading.  I’ll insert it tomorrow)

The encore was a James Brown Medley of all kinds of songs.  John Scofield came back out.  During the 3rd song, Nigel miscounted the beats and had a little rage to a stop and rewind the moment.  TWENTY!!!  And the second time around it went down right and they dropped the funk into our faces and dripped funk until they exited the stage.  JAMES BROWN MEDLEY!!  Think about that energy if you can!  Those of you there, remember that?  Nigel screaming, horns blasting…

There was some kind of swagger in the Soulive set that night. maybe it was that this was the biggest paying crowd for them headlining a show in nyc, maybe it was just feeling good on the material, maybe it was the hard work, but they played the hell out of those tunes. they owned those tunes. ~ Russ A.

Soulive Setlist: Come Together, Something In The Way, Eleanor Rigby, I Want You (She’s So Heavy),

El Ron, What You See Is What You Get, Hottentot, Born Under a Bad Sign, Do The 2, Too Much, JB Medley w/ John Scofield

Download: Soulive Live at Terminal 5 on 2010-10-02 (October 2, 2010)

 

THANK YOU ROYAL FAMILY!!!

THANK YOU ROYAL FAMILY!!!

 

It was a phenomenal night of music at Terminal this night.  for $25 you just couldn’t beat what we had just witnessed.  There was a fire on stage and an energy pumping thorugh the venue that I hadn’t felt before.  The crowd being so diverse, some coming for Talib Kweli and not knowing Warren Haynes.  Others knowing Warren Haynes but not Nigel Hall.  Others boasting about Lettuce but knowing nothing of John Scofield.  I think the greatest part of the night was knowing that a lot of people were introduced to a lot of new music and musicians this night.  I hope they went home and looked up Warren Haynes and Talib Kweli and Nigel Hall.

The Royal Family ensures that New York City will remain at the forefront of musical collaborations and musical history.  I feel as though whenever The Royal Family has a big to-do, they out do themselves every single time.  Thank you Royal Family.  Thank you for feeding us, supplying us with the music we need to survive.

Thank You SO MUCH!!!

Thank You SO MUCH!!!

 

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The 2010 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival:

An “Easy D” Perspective: Saturday, May 1, 2010

Mike "Easy D" Deasy

Mike "Easy D" Deasy

(Read Easy D’s “Prologue” here)

(Read Easy D’s “Wednesday, April 28, 2010” here)

(Read Easy D’s “Thursday, April 29, 2010” here)

(Read Easy D’s “Friday, April 30, 2010” here)

Moving slow this morning.  Quick check of the weather forecast reveals no change.   Total cloud cover, breezy, chance of rain.  This is great.  No need to continuously apply SPF 30!  Time to get on the school bus!  Unfortunately, we missed the first period of classes.  However, we arrive in time to catch the end of the Henry Butler & the Game Band set at the Gentilly stage.  This band had much more of a gospel feel than New Orleans Social Club showcasing Henry Butler’s great voice as well as his piano playing prowess.

Henry Butler @ Jazz Fest 2010

Henry Butler @ Jazz Fest 2010

We were focused.  It was time to hoof it over quickly to the Acura stage for Anders Osborne.  During the trek,we loved listening to snippets of Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band at the Fais Do Do stage and Rebirth Brass Band at Congo Square.

Rebirth Brass Band @ Jazz Fest 2010

Rebirth Brass Band @ Jazz Fest 2010

Saturday at Jazz Fest gets extremely crowded.  It’s good to have a strategy so that you can enjoy viewing the performers without having to battle the crowds.  This is especially true as one gets older and perhaps less slim (like me).  Over the last couple of years, our Krewe has adopted the following strategy for the Acura stage once the crowds build: position ourselves in front of the big screen to the left of the stage near the Grand Marshall entrance.  This is where we went next.

As with the jazzfest set last year, Anders Osborne played with the Stanton Moore Trio.  What a powerful group!

Anders Osborne – Guitar and Vocals

Stanton Moore –  Drums

Robert Walter – Organ

Will Bernard – Guitar

Anders Osborne @ Jazz Fest 2010

Anders Osborne @ Jazz Fest 2010

It has been a year since I have seen Anders Osborne live, but I have been following his career closely and could not help but notice that his appearance has taken a turn to say the least.  When viewed on the big screen, Anders’ appearance is, how can I say this tactfully, even more disconcerting.

Anders Osbourne @ Jazz Fet 2010
Anders Osbourne @ Jazz Fet 2010

However, there was nothing disconcerting about the performance or the great songs from Anders’ brand new album American Patchwork.  Most notable was the killer tune ‘On the Road to Charlie Parker’ as well as another gem ‘Acapulco’.  During the set, Anders thanked the Stanton Moore Trio for helping to ‘get my shit together.’  It’s easy to see why with such great collaborators providing the right mood for Anders’ introspective lyrics.

Anders Osbourne @ Jazz Fet 2010

Anders Osbourne @ Jazz Fet 2010

Later in the set, Anders brought another collaborator, guitarist Pepper Keenan (Corrosion of Conformity, Down) for a couple of tunes, including the haunting dual lead guitar laced ‘Darkness at the Bottom’.

Pepper Keenan w/ Anders Osborne & the Stanton Moore Trio @ Jazz Fest 2010

Pepper Keenan w/ Anders Osborne & the Stanton Moore Trio @ Jazz Fest 2010

Afterwards, Anders quipped about starting a ZZ Top cover band with Pepper.  I found Anders set to be quite powerful and emotional, certainly destined to be one of my highlights of Jazzfest 2010.  Anders is currently touring with the Trio on the west coast promoting the new album.  Go see them if you can!

After that set, I was spent.  Seems like just the right time to head to the Blues tent and grab a seat for Chris Thomas King.  You may remember Chris from his co-starring role in the Coen Brothers film O Brother Where Art Thou.  I learned several years ago that Chris is a great singer and delta blues guitarist when I caught him at a blues festival in Wheeling, WV.  His Jazz Fest set featured Chris playing mostly acoustic instruments with a couple of tunes on electric.  My guitar playing buddy was impressed.

Chris Thomas King @ Jazz Fest 2010

Chris Thomas King @ Jazz Fest 2010

Crawfish Strudel

Crawfish Strudel

Time for some food!  I was ‘beered out’ by Saturday, decided I should look for a different beverage.  I selected the Rosemint Iced Tea (unsweetened).  Delicious.  At this point I was looking for something I had not tried for and saw a sign for something called a Crawfish Strudel.  Hmmm.  Better check that out.  What I saw was a small rectangular flaky bread loaf with a slit through the top stuffed with a soupy concoction with chunks of crawfish.  Kinda like a small bread bowl, if you will, but very delicate.  A very nice surprise!  While I was working through the food lines, I could see the big Acura screen between the booths.  I noticed that Irma Thomas was sitting in with Galactic!  I guess I picked the wrong time to get hungry!

Band of Horses @ Jazz Fest 2010

Band of Horses @ Jazz Fest 2010

By this time, our dogs were barking (it’s hell growing old), so we worked our way over to the Fais Do Do stage.  Got there in time to see BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet finish their set.  Excellent.  Most of my Krewe ended up randomly gathering as the Honey Island Swamp Band set up for their set.  One brought a chair and set it up toward the back of the crowd.  Some friends and I parked on the bleachers to the left of the stage.  Some were in the standing area in front of the stage.  It’s great to have a group split during a day at the fest then randomly meet near the end of the day.  Some of my group reported that the Band of Horses set at Gentilly was killer.  Others reported that Galactic had many special guests throughout their set, not just Irma.

Then the Honey Island Swamp Band tore into their set.  The Honey Island Swamp Band is:

Chris Mulé – guitar, vocals

Aaron Wilkinson – mandolin, guitar,harmonica, vocals

Sam Price – bass, vocals

Garland Paul – drums, vocals

Honey Island Swamp Band @ Jazz Fest 2010

Honey Island Swamp Band @ Jazz Fest 2010

I have been following Chris Mulé and Aaron Wilkinson for years, since their days as part of Eric Lindell’s band.  Both are great players and singers.  In addition to the band, the stage was filled with a keyboard player, backing vocalists, and a horn section, quite a departure from the spare traveling band I saw just a few weeks ago at a small club in my hometown.  But what a dancin’ party it was at Fais Do Do!

I knew that the crowds for Pearl Jam at Acura would be impossible.  I made the decision long before coming to New Orleans that I would end Saturday at the Gentilly stage for guitar god Jeff Beck.  It has been about a decade since I last saw Mr. Beck.   I am happy to report that he is getting better with age if that is possible.  His very tight band consisted of a phenomenal female bass player and singer, drummer, and a keyboardist.  Most tunes were instrumentals, but hey, that’s OK, Jeff makes the guitar sing like no one can.  Also, gotta love a guy that is comfortable in his wardrobe.  Great ending to yet another great day.  Heavy clouds, no rain!  I like this trend!

Jeff Beck @ Jazz Fest 2010

Jeff Beck @ Jazz Fest 2010

Saturday Night, 5/1

Some of our Krewe were talking about going to see Anders Osborne and the Stanton Moore Trio again at The Rock ‘N’ Bowl on Saturday night.  I wasn’t wild about going to the same venue two nights in a row and I wasn’t wild about seeing Anders again on the same day after that draining (in a good way) set at the fairgrounds.  Last year, I did not make it to the Frenchman Street area in Marigny, an area just east of the French Quarter.  Frenchman Street is a street lined with music clubs and restaurants that is more of a scene, hip, vibrant, bohemian, you name it area than the much more touristy Bourbon Street.

Soulive @ Jazz Fest 2010

Soulive @ Jazz Fest 2010

We decided to go see Soulive at The Blue Nile.  Upon arriving on the scene, the streets and sidewalks are literally jammed with people.  Most I have ever seen on Frenchman Street.  When we approach The Blue Nile, we land in a block long admission line.  We finally make it in to the club just before the show starts.  There was a large deep crowd of people in front of the stage.  We positioned ourselves just to the right of the stage.  While not the best vantage point, at least we can clearly see the keys.

Soulive @ Jazz Fest 2010

Soulive @ Jazz Fest 2010

Soulive is Eric Krasno (guitar), Alan Evans (drums) and his brother Neal Evans (keyboards).  What a pleasure to see this band in such a small venue!  I have always loved Kras’ guitar playing, but from our vantage point, we had a bird’s eye view of Neal’s thumping left hand bass line playing coupled with his right hand organ playing.  How does he do that?

Soulive @ Jazzfest 2010

Soulive @ Jazzfest 2010

As the set progressed, the crowd got much larger and our bird’s eye view became less ideal.  There was nowhere to move or breathe for that matter, so we moved a little further back.  By this time, Nigel Hall joined the band to sing a few tunes, some of which were James Brown-like.  At least we had a little more space to shake our bones!   Several minutes later, the long set ended.  Terrific performance!  We decided to get some air and check out the street scene.

Across the street in front of the now closed Café Brasil, there was a blues band (electric) playing.  What fun!  Not 30 feet from the blues band, a brass band was holding court in the middle of the intersection.  All the while, people were stopping to listen, dancing, and strolling by.  We continued walking up the street taking in all of the sights and sounds.  Most of us decided that we weren’t going to fight the crowds and return to the Blue Nile for the 2nd set.  The one guy that did stay behind later reported that the second set was all Beatles tunes. RUBBER SOULIVE! Darn!

There were no cabs to be had on Frenchman Street, so we decided a stroll through the neighborhoods was in order.  It was a very pleasant evening and the walk did us good.  Once we were back in the French Quarter, we happened to stroll by the Co Co Club on Bourbon Street and saw the most excellent blind blues guitarist, Bryan Lee, playing.  What a bonus!  Even though there was no cover and we could have gone inside, we had a great view of Bryan and the sound was great out on the street.  We paused for about 10 minutes enjoying the band.

What a great night!  And back to the hotel just before 2:00?  I love it!

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The 2010 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival:

An “Easy D” Perspective: The Prologue

(2nd Weekend: April 28, 2010 – May 4, 2010)

Mike "Easy D" Deasy

Mike "Easy D" Deasy


JAZZ FEST 2010 Poster By Tony Bennett

JAZZ FEST 2010 Poster By Tony Bennett

This series of articles will recap my experiences and the experiences of my ‘Krewe’ in New Orleans for the 2nd weekend of the 41st annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.  I arrived for my visit in the evening on Wednesday, April 28 and left on the morning of Tuesday, May 4.  My recap will focus on the music I saw and listened to, but I will also describe some of the magic that is the City of New Orleans: the food, the people, the tourists, and the places.

2010 Congo Square Poster by Terrance Osborne

2010 Congo Square Poster by Terrance Osborne

When talking about my Krewe, I will not refer to them by name because ‘what happens in New Orleans, stays in New Orleans’.  Unlike yours truly, the rest of my Krewe currently have jobs.  All of us, including me, have families.  You will have to believe me when I say that as a group, we were reasonably well behaved, but had a tremendous amount of fun with just the right amount of partying.  No one went to the hospital; no one got arrested.  A splendid time was had by all.

I planned to take a note pad wherever I went so that I could recall my activities during the weekend.  As soon as I arrived, I realized that this plan did not make any sense.  There is so much going on all of the time that I would surely miss something while writing on the fly.  You will have to depend on my memory, which I am happy to report is usually quite good.  You will not notice if I forget some things.

Fairgrounds Race Course during Jazz Fest

Fairgrounds Race Course during Jazz Fest

The 2nd weekend of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is held at the Fairgrounds Racetrack from 11:00 AM until 7:00 PM from Thursday through Sunday.  There are 12 stages with music running simultaneously all day.  It is often quite a challenge to decide who to go see perform.  To get an idea of the schedule, go to www.nojazzfest.com and click on ‘music schedule’ where you can review ‘the cubes’ listing the acts performing at the stages on a given day.

Photo by Crawfish Monica

Photo by Crawfish Monica

Some of the stages are in tents (Blues, Gospel, Jazz, etc).  The rest of the stages (Acura, Gentilly, Congo, Fais Do Do, Jazz & Heritage, etc) are outdoors.  If the weather is decent, I prefer to go to the outdoor stages.  Some of my favorite artists have performed in the tents over the years, but if the sun is shining, I’ll often bypass a favorite in favor of an act outdoors.  Also, I enjoy strolling between the stages and discovering great music that I never intended to see.  Strolling between stages also affords the opportunity to stop at the food booths.  The food at the Fairgrounds is excellent and relatively inexpensive.  Many local favorites are featured including gumbo, jambalaya, po boys, many crawfish dishes, etc.

Photo by Lynn Lesh

Photo by Lynn Lesh

After a full day at the fairgrounds, it’s time to get back to the hotel, get a shower, perhaps a power nap, before partying again and going to a night club for even more music.  Club shows generally run from 10:00 PM to 2:00 AM.  Late night club shows generally run from 2:00 until dawn or even later.  The vast majority of the music clubs are not on Bourbon Street.  They are scattered about in various neighborhoods.  A great source of club music listing is the ‘Nearly World Famous Jazzfest Grids’ at www.jazzfestgrids.com.  That’s a lot of activity to attempt for several days in a row!   So remember, there are no rules.  It’s OK to take a day at the fairgrounds off or a club show evening off.  With restaurants, shopping, Bourbon Street, etc., there are plenty of ways to relax in New Orleans.    And remember kids, it’s a marathon, not a sprint!

~ Easy D ~

~ Continue to the next installment of Easy D’s Jazz Fest 2010 adventure~

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The 41st New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

A Russ Agdern Perspective: Part I

Mr. Russ Agdern

Mr. Russ Agdern

What a week!  My third trip to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (Jazz Fest) was nothing short of incredible.  The surprises were many, the disappointments were few, the food was awesome, and when you get to hear some of the best music in the world in one the most important musical towns in the world, you’re in for a good time.

2010 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

2010 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival takes place over the last weekend of April and first weekend in May at the New Orleans Fairgrounds, but, like most parties in this town, can’t be contained in one venue, so Fest spills out in the clubs, halls, restaurants, bars, record stores, boats, coffee houses, laundromats, Carnival float warehouses, street corners and empty lots of the Crescent City.  Two things set Jazz Fest apart from other festivals in my mind – the musical diversity and the food.

Who Dat Ville

Photo by Marisa Harford

While heavy metal, pop, opera, classical aren’t there, and quality hip hop is not so represented (The Roots and Chali 2na were both here in 2008, haven’t seen a hip hop group I like since at the fairgrounds), some of the very best in Jazz, Funk, Blues, Gospel, Zydeco, Cajun, Folk, Rock are all over the place at the fairgrounds and in the venues around town.  Ani DiFranco and Gift of Gab played club shows, members of REM sat in with Bonerama, Pearl Jam, Elvis Costello, Simon and Garfunkel, Van Morrison all played at the fairgrounds, so don’t be fooled into thinking this is solely a Jazz festival, because it ain’t.  Sure, there are 3 different jazz stages at the fairgrounds (one for general jazz, one for traditional New Orleans Dixieland Jazz, and one split between brass bands and Mardi Gras Indians) but there are also two main stages, a gospel and blues tents, a zydeco/Cajun stage… you get the idea.

Prejean's pheasant, quail and andouille gumbo (Photo by Prejean's Restaurant)

Prejean's pheasant, quail and andouille gumbo (Photo by Prejean's Restaurant)

The food at the fairgrounds is tremendous.  It is freaking delicious and goes way beyond “best festival food you’ll have” into some of the best you’ll ever have…period.  I wait all year for Prejeans Pheasant, Duck, and Andouille Gumbo.  Their Fried Chicken and Jambalaya combo is one of the best ways to spend $8.  And I’m not even talking about all the things most folks seem to like, like the crawfish monica, the shrimp po boys, the cochon de lait sandwiches, the mango freezes… trust me when I say you should budget yourself 20 bucks per day for food at the fairgrounds. You’ll thank me.

Photo By Lynn Lesh 2010

Photo By Lynn Lesh

This being my third Jazz Fest, I tend to have a rhythm I like to follow, things I like to do.  Some of my favorite moments of Fest have happened during the in between days or extra days, so I tend to do second weekend with an extra day or two on either end of the weekend.  This gives me time to actually see the city, something I don’t really do as much while the music is in full swing.  This also gives me a chance to catch additional great music at various places, including the Louisiana Music Factory which hosts many in store sets during the days surrounding Fest.  I think this review works best chronologically, so let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

Welcome to NOLA

Welcome to NOLA

Wednesday: April 28, 2010: Day One

Arrive at airport, no traffic on Bronx/Queens Expressway and breeze through security line… only to find a gate full of ANGRY people.  Why so serious?  You see, the airlines don’t apparently know that it is Jazz Fest, even if millions of people do.  So they oversell flights, and are shocked when they need 5 volunteers to go later, but folks already have reservations and concert tickets.  I considered getting bumped, but wanted to get to town.

House of Blues, New Orleans

House of Blues, New Orleans

I don’t normally do House of Blues shows, would rather support local clubs.  But today, they had Kermit Ruffins of the Barbecue Swingers, doing a “Treme House Party” on stage with Walter Wolfman Washington, Dr. Michael White, Henry Butler, and Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews.  This sounded awesome.  Plus, Fesshead Krewe (represented by a metal bust of Professor Longhair) was hosting a party in an empty lot, with The  Rebirth Brass Band and an all star band of Neville-related project alums (Band called “Never Was Brothers”), which sounded great.  So no flight credit for me. Really excited about this House of Blues‘ show.  So excited that I call after I land to see if I should get tickets early or just walk up.  The box office suggested coming early so I head right from my host’s place towards The French Quarter.  On the way, pass by Fesshead Fest, and never have a received a look of utter betrayal like the one I got from the man waiving people in to Fesshead Fest.  The guy was shocked that I kept driving, how could I do this to him?!  But I stopped long enough to hear The  Rebirth Brass Band rock out one tune and was it hot!

Café Du Monde beignets

Café Du Monde's Beignets (Photo by Marisa Harford)

Park on Decatur, run to the box office, snag a ticket, stop by Café Du Monde for some beignets (French donuts with powdered sugar) and some Café Au Lait (coffee with milk).  Great couple musicians jamming on some folk and soul music out front, a sister with dreads on guitar, a youngish guy on guitar, a drummer… another guitarist walks up and joins them, as does a singer, who starts singin’ the hell out of some Bill Withers.  I love Bill Withers.  Hey, apparently, so does Cyril Neville, who’s suddenly standing five feet from me, also checking them out.  I decide not to say anything to him, even though he’s an amazing musician who’s done some amazing stuff, most recently touring with Galactic and burning down The Brooklyn Bowl after The Saints won the Super Bowl.  Another woman walks up and starts singing Aretha Franklin‘s “Chain of Fools” and is fantastic.  This is gonna be a good week.

Go hang with my host for a few moments before I head over the House of Blues, he’s an old friend through social justice work and is a good dude trying to good work in a city that needs it.  Off to HOB!

Photo by Matt Cornell

Kermit's Poster (Photo by Matt Cornell)

Show review:

This show had all the makings of an epic, but some things worried me – like why call it a “Treme House Party” when people can go see Kermit Ruffins playing in the Treme tomorrow night?  It’s Jazz Fest.  My guess is that lineup doesn’t need to piggy back off the show, even if it is popular.  Great opening act, singer and a guitarist accompanying.  Great voice, insane Mariah Carey-like upper range.  But the main event was a disappointment, for a few reasons:

1)      The curtain opened and we were watching a ‘Treme House Party’.  The stage was set with couches, chairs, a bar, and random non musicians hangin’ out, having drinks.  Weird.  The House of Blues brings you a fake version of something that exists for real a couple miles away tomorrow.

Trombone Shorty @ Kermit's Show

Trombone Shorty @ Kermit's Show (Photo by Matt Cornell)

2)      I had hoped there would be some real interaction between the guests, with each other, with Kermit.  But the show was a lot more of Kermit plays one song, special guest X leads The Barbeque Swingers for a few numbers, maybe Kermit joins on one, then special guest X leaves.  LAME.  Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t actually lame, the musicianship was fantastic, but the vibe was off, and Kermit having a drink on stage, trumpet in hand, while someone else leads his band and doesn’t get in on it?  Weird stuff.

3)      Because of 1 and 2, things were low energy for the first half, which is a shame b/c Walter Wolfman Washington and Dr. Michael White were great.  But Henry Butler really kicked things up a notch with his cover of “Mustang Sally.”  Then Trombone Shorty’s mini set was also great and he brought his brother James Andrews out to do “Skokie” and “Oop Oop A Doo.”

Treme on HBO

Treme on HBO

4)      I’m sure Treme is awesome.  I can’t wait to see the series, actually.  And I very much dig John Boutte, the guy who wrote the song that became the theme.  Still, it sounds a lot like the beginning to “Do Whatcha Wanna“, and I got very excited the four times I heard it this weekend, only to be disappointed.  My guess is musicians in NOLA will be as tired of that song as they are of “The Saints” very soon.

I know folks say that bad sex and pizza, even when they’re bad, are pretty good.  But whoever said those things must clearly not know good pizza and good sex, because pretty good doesn’t freaking cut it when it could be mind blowing.  While pretty good, and probably great for folks who didn’t know they could expect more, this show was probably the disappointment of the weekend.  It could have been one of those crazy moments of synergy when brilliant musicians make something happen, but instead it was a weird, gimmicky thing that was more like an all-star review than the party I had hoped for.

Irvin Mayfield and the NOJO Jam

Irvin Mayfield and the NOJO Jam

Next up, I stopped by the Jam Session at Irvin Mayfield’s new place, called a “head cutting session.”  For y’all don’t know, cutting heads is not just jamming, but is actually competitive combat.  Kinda how a poetry slam is to spoken word and performance poetry.  So, to hear it billed like that, I was hoping for some folks spitting fiyo.  What was going down there was a bunch of younger cats playing some charts together.

Megalomaniac's Ball - Garage A Trois (Photo by Jon Weber)

Megalomaniac's Ball - Garage A Trois (Photo by Jon Weber)

It was great to see them finding their feet, but again, not quite what I expected.  Still, the players was solid, lotsa horn players getting their groove on to “Straight“, “No Chaser” and whatnot.    Good times.  Caught several songs then felt my energy start to flag a lil bit.  While I was enjoying the jamming, it wasn’t worth starting the week off sleep deprived.  It was too late to hit The Megalomaniac’s Ball, featuring Garage A Trois, Stanton Moore Trio, Dead Kenny G’s, Mike Dillon and Earl Harvin Duo, at The Howlin’ Wolf, so I decided to head back towards the rental car.  A good but not great start to the week, was starting to feel a little bummed.  Thing is, some of the best shows I’ve seen at Fest have been the night before, so expectations were great and not met.

So…it’s 2am and I’m driving down Elysian Fields and about to turn onto my friend’s street…when I hear a brass band.  I immediately park.  Last year there were brass band battles on Frenchman, a block away.  I head towards Frenchman and sure enough there are two small groups going at it, with a frenzied group of dancers between them.  More and more players join up, including Clarence ‘Trixzey’ Slaughter, formerly of Trombone Shorty’s band.  It’s getting crazy.  The crowd is getting larger.  For the second time today, Cyril Neville bumps into me.  I decide again not to say anything.  A guy shows up with a baritone (smaller version of a tuba) and another guy with weird saxophones.  A shorter Latina woman is dancing like crazy.  Cyril bumps into me again and I thank him for such a great Super Bowl show at The Brooklyn Bowl with Galactic.

Cyril: Aww, thank you man.  You know, that night… we were Doin Work! You know?

Me: Yeah you right. And brother, you sure were.

Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews has now shown up and though half the crowd is spraining eyeballs trying to notice it is him without staring, he’s unarmed and just there to watch.  The band is taking it up and up.  Two drunk dudes are doing their best to ruin it by stumbling into the band but thankfully not succeeding.  Clarence ‘Trixzey’ Slaughter is KILLING on his horn.  Hell yeah! Finally, the band busts out “Saints” for a while, then second line and it’s a wrap.  Instead of bed by 2am, it’s more like 4:30am now.  And while still a little disappointed about the first show, I went to sleep real happy.  Seen some great musicianship and showmanship, and Jazz Fest hadn’t even restarted.  This was gonna be an awesome week.

~ Article by: Russ Agdern ~

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