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Posts Tagged ‘Dr. Klaw’

I had the pleasure of writing for Royal Family Records website for all ten nights for Bowlive III. So, if you care for the shorter, not so critical and emotional charged recaps, head over to RoyalFamilyRecords.com and read up there as you all know the following post will be full of extra details and a much longer recap. Available videos are linked to the song titles! With that said:

HAPPY BOWLIVE NEW YORK CITY!!

BOWLIVE RAGERS!!!  (Photo by Phrazz)

BOWLIVE RAGERS!!! (Photo by Phrazz)

I must start this recap by giving mad love to the Brooklyn Bowl.  If you have never been, what are you waiting for? Their food is killer, their big, leather couches lining the bowling lanes and open feel makes it one of the best venues in Brooklyn, if not all of NYC.  Owner, Pete Shapiro, is one of the most humble, caring, proprietors of an establishment that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. His connections and passion to the music scene are evident as he joins the audience when amazing performances are taking place.  For an example of his kindness, Josh (My Mega Rager) and I got engaged last week in Mexico and are frequent attendees at Brooklyn Bowl performances. It is our favorite venue in the city and not just because Josh and I met there at a Karl Denson show two years ago.

Josh and I thanked Pete last night for providing us with such a great platform to meet. He bought us a bottle of champagne and we all shared a celebratory “Cheers.”  Josh and I are not drinkers but that didn’t stop the toast because when Pete Shapiro buys you a drink, you take it 🙂 I have now only seen Josh take a shot of tequila (a gift from the Brooklyn Bowl on his birthday) and now a glass of champagne.  Thanks again Pete and all the staff who run the Brooklyn Bowl for providing us such a wonderful place to engage in our musical passions, to engage with our musical family and friends and for your killer fried chicken.  As well, the addition of the hooks under the bar and upper level viewing deck did not go unnoticed and had both male and females singing the praises of having their purses and jackets now off the sticky ground 🙂  Quality upgrade!!! Now, on to the real magic.

Bowlive III – Night 1 Recap

Faithful fans of Soulive descend upon the Brooklyn Bowl, one of Brooklyn’s premier music venues, on February 28, 2012 for the first night of the highly anticipated ten-night residency, BOWLIVE III.

Faithful Fans (minus a few) (Photo by Phrazz)

Faithful Fans (minus a few) (Photo by Phrazz)

Alan Evans (Photo by Phrazz)

Alan Evans (Photo by Phrazz)

In previous years, Bowlive audiences have had the pleasure of witnessing diverse line-ups of well-known (Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, Maceo Parker) and up and coming musicians (The London Souls, Alecia Chakour and Mel Flannery), taking their turn on stage with guitarist Eric Krasno, organist and bass keys player  Neal Evans and drummer Alan Evans, the soulful trio who inspire these ten nights of musical magic. Bowlive III was no different with scheduled collaborations by Zach Deputy, Big Sam, Karl Denson, Questlove, Lettuce, Rahzel, Allen Stone, Jennifer Hartswick, and the Alecia Chakour Band. More additions were added continuously over the run so I keep my eyes (and ears) open.

Mike Gibney, The Royal Family’s announcer or HYPE BOY, if you will, came out on stage to announce the band. He is a hilarious, happy, charming, funny man who never fails to pump up the crowd with his wit and humor or hilarious Cosby Sweater-styled outfits.  Tonight, pimpin’ a nice suit, he would scream out how proud he was of himself for being “undefeated in Bowlive History!”  I had to scream “ME TOO!” as loud as I could as there are literally a handful of fans AND staff who have actually attended all ten nights the previous years. I have gone to 29 out of 30 Bowlive shows.

Straying from the formula of the past two years, Soulive hit the stage early, opting out of an opening band until the weekend performances.  The trio stated slow with the appropriate “So Live.” Their energy was calm and they warmed up nicely into the explosive “Hat Trick,” which would set the tone for the rest of the night. Opting out of an opener really placed full responsibility on the trio to ensure the energy was up, to ensure that we stayed engaged, and to ensure that they made the point that they were back!!!  Having seen these three musicians grow since 2000, there was nothing standing in their way last night.

Neal Evans (Photo by Phrazz)

Neal Evans (Photo by Phrazz)

You know when you see the same band over and over and it sometimes appears that they are going through the motions?  I have seen Soulive and its members in their various projects for over a decade now. I hold them to a very high standard as the point of all of this is growth. Growth as a band and as individual musicians.  Bowlive provides a platform for these men to expand their musical catalog by infusing their material with the styles of the special guests that join them.  Because of all these collaborations, it could be easy as the hosts to, perhaps, not invest as much power and passion into the solo songs where the trio played alone.  Of course, this is something that SHOULDN’T happen, and on this first night, it didn’t. I looked forward to watching this monster of a musical run grow beneath our feet and in front of our eyes and to watch the exposure of stamina and talent of these three musical masters were going to have to project as time goes on.

Eric Krasno (Photo by Phrazz)

Eric Krasno (Photo by Phrazz)

The Legendary John Scofield (Photo By Phrazz)

The Legendary John Scofield (Photo By Phrazz)

John “Sco” Scofield, one of America’s greatest Jazz guitarists and composers, was the first guest to appear on stage this year. I absolutely adore seeing Sco and Krasno collaborate.  Joining the trio on the third song, “Tabasco”, a Sco original, Krazno and Sco immediately engaged in each other. Coming ever so close to each other, face to face on stage, they played off each others rifts with the Evan brothers blasting their rhythms.  A Billy Cobham cover, “Red Baron,” followed allowing for each musician on stage to throw down some lightening rod solos.  Sco’s time on stage brought a range of psychedelic jamming and jazz infusion to the trio’s sound that only Sco can help create. This was an exciting show simply because of the fact that John Scofield, Eric Krasno and Luther Dickinson would all be performing together in various combinations throughout the night. For guitar loving rockers like me and every other male that was in that audience, this was FIRE!!! What a great way to start it off.

Nigel Hall (Photo by Phrazz)

Nigel Hall (Photo by Phrazz)

Nigel Hall joins Neal Evans on Keys (Photo by Phrazz)

Nigel Hall joins Neal Evans on Keys (Photo by Phrazz)

Nigel Hall (The Warren Haynes Band, Dr. Klaw) was next to join the stage, initially jumping in on the keyboards with Alan Evan during “What You See Is What You Get.”  The Nigel Hall Band actually opened almost every night during the first Bowlive in 2012. This run, however, Hall took to the microphone only once with his band to deliver the sultry, sexy Donny Hathaway cover “More Then You’ll Ever Know.” Hall’s emotional connection to this powerful ballad was evident as he melted the hearts in front of him. I watched men kiss their girls passionately, I watched bros hug it out on the main floor and I felt my own heart melt.  Hall left immediately for home after the song and I texted him to let him know that his connection was so clear to those who were paying attention.  His response: “Thank you! When you’ve been in love, you can relate.” I hoped that we would get to experience more of him during this run but at the time, nothing was scheduled. We kept those fingers crossed.

John Scofield and Soulive (Photo by Phrazz)

John Scofield and Soulive (Photo by Phrazz)

“Boozer,” another Sco original, end the KILLER first set with Sco thanking Soulive for allowing him to join the party and calling Nigel Hall a “genius.” That statement is powerful and honest and to hear it ring from Sco’s lips, I know for a fact that Nigel’s heart swelled. Mine certainly did.

Nigel Hall connecting with John Scofield (Photo by Phrazz)

Nigel Hall connecting with John Scofield (Photo by Phrazz)

After a short intermission, the Evans brothers and Krasno were back on stage, alone, performing the beautifully composed “El Ron,”  followed by a raging “One in Seven.” No special guests needed to be on stage to ensure that fire was coming off it.  The trio was living up to their responsibilities and taking the songs we have seen them play a million times and breathing fresh life and RAGE into them.

Luther and Soulive - Outstanding Performance

Luther and Soulive  (Photo by Phrazz)

Luther Dickinson (Photo by Phrazz)

Luther Dickinson (Photo by Phrazz)

When southern-style slide guitarist Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi AllStars) joined the stage, all hell broke loose.  Literally, broke shit up all over our brains and faces.  Booker T. and the MG’s cover “Hip Hug Her” started slow and simple, a playing quality that Luther Dickinson has perfected with his understated simplicity and lightening fast fingers.  Initially, after the great versions of Soulive’s original songs had just brought the energy up, Dickinson’s simplistic playing and calm warm-up seemed to bring the energy down but only for that first song. The set continued with Dickinson, Krasno and the Evan brothers elevating their quality of playing to the peak of high energy for the evening, downright melting the audience’s faces with solo after solo after solo.

Dickinson and Krasno (Photo by Phrazz)

Dickinson and Krasno (Photo by Phrazz)

At one point, the wonderful Alan Evans was left alone the stage for an isolated drum solo lit by a single house light. His serious composure throughout the evening provided the foundation for all this musical majesty to take place. Neal Evans’ organ play was deep, intense, raw and when paired with the slide guitar of Dickinson, brought Soulive’s sound to new heights. It is collaborations like these that make Bowlive so special.  How can we watch the same group for ten nights in a row and not get bored? Well, that is their job and they do their job RIGHT!

Luther and Soulive - Outstanding Performance

Luther and Soulive (Photo by Phrazz)

At times when a song is taking off, I like to take a walk through the audience and listen to them, their comments, their critics (if they know what they are talking about) and just engage in the energy around me.  When they broke into “Hear My Train” by Jimi Hendrix, the rage that ensued both on stage and in the audience was palpable. “Holy Shit” and “Do you see what is happening on stage?” were common statement that could be heard throughout the sea of heady heads. People hushed those around them talking too loud and eyes were transfixed on the stage ~ (Some might say STFUAD – Shut The F*&K Up And Dance). The foursome encored with another Hendrix song, “Stone Free,” a tight, jamming song that cemented the power of the evening and left the audience screaming with thunderous applause.

WINNING!!!!

WINNING!!!! (Photo by Phrazz)

Bowlive III had begun in New York City!!  We only prayed that we could handle it because after the freight train of rage that was released that night; there would be no stopping it. The power that slides off of these performances are unlike any regular 2-set performances you attend. The energy and collaborations that I would enjoy in the coming weeks would far surpass many musical runs I might experience.  TEN NIGHTS!!!!  That is a superb feat for any musician of ANY age to accomplish. For those of us with day jobs and for those of us expected to process material by the next morning, it’s even more of a feat. One that I have been proud to be a part of for the last two years.

Setlist Rage!

The Initial Setlist!

Download Night 1 Sound Board Audio Here!

Pictures by Phrazz

Videos by Marc Millman and mkdevo

Words by The Tiny Rager

Check out some amazing Bowlive Shots by Michael Jurick here!

Read Full Post »

The 41st New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival:

A Russ Agdern Perspective: Thursday, April 29, 2010

(The Fairgrounds Reopen, Marisa Arrives, Let’s Zydeco!)

Mr. Russ Agdern

Mr. Russ Agdern

(Read Russ’s “Wednesday, April 28, 2010″ here)

Cake Cafe (Photo by Bryna Stiefel)

Cake Cafe (Photo by Bryna Stiefel)

So after a five hour sleep, I shower, get dressed, catch up with my buddy for a minute, then it’s off to the Cake Café for a croissant and up the Fairgrounds for Day 1.  It’s a little overcast, the perfect kind of Fest day, not too hot and sunny.  Text my folks to let em know I’m on my way.  Stop to buy water from the same lady I buy water from outside the fest every year, grab my cubes (slang, term to describe Jazz Fest schedule) and tell the nice lady hanging out to remember me and not be surprised when I sweat through them and come back every day.  Get my stuff searched, my ticket scanned, and wow, I’m in.  HAPPY JAZZFEST!

Fais DO DO Stage (Photo by allentomdude)

Fais DO DO Stage (Photo by allentomdude)

For those who don’t know about Jazz Fest, there are three stages you always need to make time to check out: the Gospel Tent, the Jazz and Heritage Stage, and the Fais Do-Do (pronounced Fay doughdough) Stage.  Just do it; make the time.  Because at each of those spaces, there’s a really good chance you’ll hear someone you’ve never heard of before making incredible music.

McMain High School Gospel Choir

McMain High School Gospel Choir

I learned this lesson really well in 2008 and I try to stick to it, so seeing as it’s the first venue on the way in, I grab a seat in the Gospel Tent to check out the McMain High School Gospel Choir.  Local high school, apparently, I know nothing about them and sit down.  WOW.  Amazing!  Unbelievable voices, poise, energy, showmanship.  Just incredible!  All kinds of soloists started doing amazing things, and their band, comprised of high school musicians, was incredibly tight!  Texted my wife that the choir was so good I was thinking about converting, and the Gospel tent is so good it wasn’t the first or last time I’ve made that joke.

Kirk Joseph (Photo By Jeff Dupuis)

Kirk Joseph (Photo By Jeff Dupuis)

While there, I figured out roughly how my day was going to go, then made my way over to LB and her Krewe of folks at the fairgrounds.  LB  is a Jazzfest vet, having been many times, and I had the pleasure of bonding with her about Jazzfest at a Big Sam show last year, so we’ve been hitting great funk shows together since then.  Her Krewe had a nice spot by the Acura (main 1) stage, and I went to check out Kirk Joseph’s Backyard Groove.  Kirk Joseph is the original sousaphone player of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and is credited by many with taking Sousaphone playing into the realm of replacing an electric bass in a funk band.  This style of Sousaphone playing, taken up by others like “Tuba Phil” Frazier of the Rebirth Brass Band, has become the standard for many Brass Bands around the world, and Joseph was one of the innovators, so I wanted to see what his new band was putting down.  Nice lineup, multiple horns including what looked like a baritone horn (smaller version of a regular tuba), keys, guitar, and a couple of singers.  Doing a nice mix of funky stuff, flirtatious titles (don’t let me have a taste if I don’t get to have the whole thing), and stuff with a message about living together.

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

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

Speaking of tastes, it wouldn’t be Fest without the food!  Went off to get my first tastes of Fest, including the Pheasant, Quail and Andouie Gumbo from Prejeans that I look forward to every year, as well as the stuffed mushrooms that are just delicious.  And the nice folks at Prejeans gave me a FREE BOWL!  After I stopped to take a sip, I groaned at how good the stuff is.  One of the folks behind the table asked me why I stopped, I told her it tasted just like I remembered it did last year, and she handed me another bowl without waiting.  Awesome!  Some to share with LB’s buddies of the Superchill Krewe.  Yeah you right!

Dumpstaphunk (Photo by Jason Moran)

Dumpstaphunk (Photo by Jason Moran)

Nothing else grabbed my fancy, so I decided to stay put at Acura and give Dumpstaphunk a real chance.  I always kind of a weird feeling about them-  I feel about musical families the way I feel about royal families- having the name doesn’t impress me, you have to bring it.  Being Art Neville’s nephew and playing keys made me a little wary- I’m a huge devotee of Poppa Funk, and didn’t want to see someone up there just b/c of the name.  But Ivan really brought it on keys and with some great energy on vocals as well.  By the second tune, “Turn This Thing Around” which was talking about helping folks that need a hand, I was really digging the groove.  In some ways, Dumpstaphunk reminded me of a mix between the tight funk of the Meters and the cosmic slop of P-Funk.  Nasty grooves and a good message?  Sign me up.  Ivan and the whole crew were serious business, and I’m sorry I ever had a thought that he wasn’t earning it, because Ivan is a monster on them keys.

Walter Payton with Snapbeans & Gumbo Filé

Walter Payton with Snapbeans & Gumbo Filé

But as the crew was rampaging through “Put it in the Dumpsta” I checked the time and realized it was time to see an old friend.  Walter Payton, Jazz Bassist extraordinaire, music education giant of New Orleans, father of trumpet star Nicholas Payton, and longtime stalwart of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, was playing with his group, Snap Ppeas and Gumbo File, at the Economy Hall Tent.  The Economy Hall tent is one of three Jazz stages at Jazzfest, the stage representing traditional, New Orleans Jazz.  I had the pleasure of making friends with Walter on my first trip to New Orleans in 1999, and always try to get out and see him at Fest.  This was especially important this year as he had a stroke at the beginning of the year, so I really wanted to see him.  And it was tough. The musicianship was great, he had some tremendous folks playing with him, including guitar wizard June Yamagishi (from Papa Grows Funk, among other things) and a couple great singers and dancers.  But he wasn’t nearly as gregarious as previous years, one could tell he wasn’t quite recovered from the stroke and it made me quite sad.  When I spoke with one of the staff of Preservation Hall about Walter on Monday, she and I both started to tear up as she talked to me about him not wanting to slow down, wanting to keep going and pushing himself a little too hard to get back.  I made her promise to tell him I send my best and she did.  It’s a sad thing to see good people not quite at their best.  Here’s hoping for a continued speedy recovery, Walter.  The music world, and really the whole world needs you better.  Readers, if you’re not sure you agree, check out this great video of Walter singing the Louis Armstrong classic, “Shimmy Like My Sister Kate”

Mardi Gras Indian (Photo by Mica Lawson)

Mardi Gras Indian (Photo by Mica Lawson)

Having a bit of time to kill before Dr. Klaw, my next must see, I headed over to catch Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes and the Louisiana Sunspots over at the Congo Square stage.  On the way, I got caught in some second line fun with some Mardi Gras Indians and the Paulin Brothers Brass Band.  Oh yeah, if ten stages of unbelievable music isn’t enough for you, there are often Brass Bands and Mardi Gras Indians parading through the fairgrounds at random times.

Paulin Brothers Brass Band (Photo by Maitri)

Paulin Brothers Brass Band (Photo by Maitri)

So after waving around a napkin and shaking it with the Paulin Brothers Brass Band, who were just great, went off to see Sunpie.  Sunpie is impressive, multi instrumentalist, great singer, and a big presence.  He apparently used to play football, he’s a tall dude.  He’s also all over the place, playing WWOZ’s piano night, playing with his own band, later on that weekend with the Mardi Gras Indians Orchestra, and on the awesome new Ensemble Fatien disc.  I was looking forward to catching him and the Sunspots later that night at the Mid City Lanes annual Legends of Zydeco show, but wanted to catch a peek now.  He didn’t disappoint, romping through Louis Jordan’s “Choo Choo Ch’boogie” and a couple others before I danced my way back to the Jazz and Heritage Stage for Dr. Klaw.  Some really great accordion work, and that band is awful tight.

Alright Dr. Klaw!  Dr. Klaw is one of these bands that only exists in a few places like Jazz Fest and Jam Cruise, a mutant mash up of Chapter 2, represented by Eric Krasno on guitar and some vocals, Adam Deitch on drums, and Nigel Hall on Keys and vocals, and Dumpstaphunk, represented by Nick Daniels on bass and lead vocals and Ian Neville on guitar.  It was kinda weird to see a guitar based band at the Jazz and Heritage stage, but I didn’t mind it.  These guys were fantastic- Nick Daniels syncing up with Adam Deitch for some sick grooves, Eric Krasno letting it out and singing it out a lil bit, and Nigel laying down some tasty stuff on the keys.  Ian was good too, but seemed content to let Kras take the lead.  Ivan Neville was on the side of the stage most of the set, grooving and possibly chomping at the bit to get in the mix, but didn’t end up stepping in.  My personal highlight was Nick Daniels and Nigel Hall sharing vocals on a tasty as hell version of “Higher Ground” by Stevie Wonder.  It’s only halfway through Day 1 at the Fairgrounds, and I already got a “best covers of 2010” list brewing in my head.  The fellas headed into Nigel Hall’s “Leave Me Alone” but not being in the mood to hear that particular track, I bounded towards the track side of the Congo Square stage to get a good spot for the Soul Rebels Brass Band.

Soul Rebel Brass Band

Soul Rebel Brass Band

The Soul Rebels are one of New Orleans’ many great second generation Brass Band outfits.  I say second generation because you have older guard groups like the Treme Brass Band, the Paulin Brothers, and then, starting with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and of course, the mighty Rebirth Brass Band, you have a second wave of brass bands that combine the traditional music with Funk, R&B, Rock, and Hip Hop to make more contemporary flavored music.  The Soul Rebels have been around at least sixteen or seventeen years.  I got down with their groove for a bit before chatting a little with some folks that were set up near me, including a woman who asked me if I spoke Hebrew (in Hebrew).  Ah, the surprises of wearing a Hebrew letter Yankees hat to Jazz Fest.  She let me know there were actually a lot of Yids and Israelis at Jazz Fest, and that I should look out for the Krewe at, what else, the Israeli flag by Acura.

Someone bumps into me and it’s KD! KD is the person that finally went to Fest in 2007 and inspired me to get off my tuchus and go there, and she’s just good people.  Starting last year, she’s been “living the dream” and spending 12 days in New Orleans for Fest.  We catch up, she tells me where she’s been, who she’s been seeing and how she’s doing.  We both grumble at the mediocre hip hop stuff that’s entered the Soul Rebels set.  I’m sorry y’all, I’m from New York and I take Hip Hop seriously, so I’m kinda tough on folks dropping random things in.  Y’all wouldn’t like it if Talib Kweli picked up a saxophone and started half ass-ing “Do Whatcha Wanna” either.  Glad to see KD but feeling like a different energy, we hug and part ways, and I head back to the Jazz and Heritage stage to catch 101 Runners.

101 Runner (Photo by Kaarin Tisue)

101 Runner (Photo by Kaarin Tisue)

MAN!  What a difference!  These guys are pouring it out there, goin nuts over “Shallow Water” and whipping the crowd into a frenzy.  I have to say, watching people discover this stage is a favorite of mine.  People don’t know what to make of the Mardi Gras Indians groups but they get into them pretty quickly with their incredibly funky grooves and their catchy call and response melodies.  Perfect.  Off to snag a Loretta’s Praline and get a decent spot for Elvis Costello at the Gentilly Stage.  Well, I didn’t head over soon enough, because I can hear strains of a killer version of “Hey, You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away” wafting skyward as I approach.  The lawn is packed, no good spot for me.  I unfold the chair and grab a seat.

Elvis Costello @ Jazzfest 2010

Elvis Costello @ Jazzfest 2010

He’s performing some great stuff, and the local crowd has some real love for him as he’s been around the city post federal flood.  Does a few more great tunes I don’t know (I must confess to not knowing his catalog super well) and it’s great stuff… but for some reason, my soul is not there.  This is one thing that’s difficult to manage about Jazzfest- restless ears.  There’s so much good stuff happening at any one moment that it’s tough to stay in one place if you’re not feeling it.  So even though this was my first time seeing Elvis Costello, and even though he was great, and even though my friends reading this will probably smack me for saying this… I left Gentilly to end my day at another tent.

On my way to the main gate, I passed the Economy Hall tent, where there was a great tribute to Louis Prima happening, as part of the celebration of his 100th birthday.  One of Prima’s guitar players, Bobby Lonero, was leading a great band in a set of Prima classics.  Who could go wrong?  Great mash up of When You’re Smiling into Oh Marie, and then, when they asked the crowd for a request, everyone yelled for Just a Gigolo.  For those who don’t know, the David Lee Roth version was ripped off essentially note for note from Louis Prima’s arrangement.  Don’t believe me? Check this out:

John Popper @ Jazz Fet 2010

John Popper @ Jazz Fet 2010

Except Roth, the nice Jewish boy, leaves off my favorite part, when Prima is saying nobody/no one in multiple languages, including Yiddish at the end.  In any case, the band is doing a fantastic version of it, and while I know they’re doing a tribute, it’s putting a big smile on my face.  After they finish it, the band starts into “I’m Leaving You” Prima’s last song before he went into a coma and later passed, and not in a place to be down, I head towards the Blues tent where John Popper and the gents from Blues Traveler are closing out the day.  The harmonica work is great, and they launch into a great version of Sublime’s “What I Got” which is a great way to end the first day at the fairgrounds.  But, as you know from the previous post, this is not the end of the action, but merely half time, as it’s only 7pm and there will be music happening until sunrise tonight!

Upperline, NOLA

Upperline, NOLA

On the long walk to my rental car, I realize this is the only day I’ll be able to hit Upperline, an insanely delicious restaurant hidden between the garden district and the Tulane campus.  Not wanting to wait another year to have their insanely good Roast Duck with Garlic Port sauce, on a whim, I call to see if they have room for one.  If I can get there by 8pm, there’s a small table I can sneak into for an hour.  PERFECT!

The Monsters of Zydeco (nb, Mid City, y’all should really call it that next year) doesn’t start till 9ish, M’s flight lands at 10, delicious dinner, half hour of music, get M, 4 more hours of music.  Done!  I fly across town and, using my handy map (remember those, people? Who needs a GPS when you can read a freaking map!?!), and in 25 minutes, I go from Fairgrounds traffic to Upperline deliciousness.  As I sit down and order, I notice an African American gentleman heading towards the… holy crap, it’s DIESEL!  Karl Denson is playing a late show at Tipitina’s with his solo band, the Tiny Universe, and he apparently made time for one of New Orleans’ best restaurants as well. Yep, 2 out of 2 funky sax players agree, Upperline is the place to be.  I tuck in to my roast duck with praline pecan yams and, MAN, I am a happy camper.  Except when I look at my phone and find out that M’s flight, after first text that they were boarded and ready to go, is delayed.  NO!  Just so y’all know, M is my wife of 2 years, and one of the first things we’ve bonded over is Zydeco music.  Since the inception of the Monsters of Zydeco show in 08, I’ve been dying for her to get to Fest in time to see this show.  Sated and pleased with the meal but grumpy about the news, I make my way to Mid City Lanes.

Night Show review: Legends of Zydeco, Mid City Lanes, Thursday, 4/29.

Rock'N'Bowl, NOLA

Rock'N'Bowl, NOLA

I’ve been to the first two Monsters of Zydeco shows, and it’s pretty much all you could ask for in an all star show.  Four or Five of the very best artists in a style of music, playing full hour plus sets with their bands AND everyone is sitting in with each other as well.  Imagine four of your favorite rock bands getting together and doing something like that.  Awesome, right?  Except, this ACTUALLY happens at Rock’N’Bowl each year, unlike the all star concert in your head.

This show, as it was the last two years, is an absolute blast.  When you have Buckwheat Zydeco, CJ Chenier, Sunpie Barnes, Nathan Williams of Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas, and old school Zydeco legend Clayton Sampy rocking out together, with zydeco and blues guitar master L’il Buck Sinegal leading the band, you know it’s gonna be a good party.  Sunpie was serving as the MC of the evening and doing a great job introducing everyone.  It seems that in Zydeco, there’s a lot of love to go around with all the musicians involved, and it certainly comes to the forefront on a night like this.

This year, while players were moving in and out, it was mostly Buckwheat’s band that formed a house band, with L’il Buck at the helm, and man, were they on it.  The people were on it, too, as the floor filled up with swingers and two steppers the second Sampy got it started.  I’ve been in Pantera and Primus mosh pits, and I can tell you it gets a little dangerous on the dance floor at Zydeco night at the Rock’N’Bowl.  Sampy played some great French language old school classics and the people were really feeling it.

Next up, Nathan Williams took a turn and he mixed a little more English into the songs and things got a bit more contemporary, there was the start of the mix of classic Zydeco and R&B, with Nathan leading the band in a rousing cover of “Hey Hey Hey Hey!” Nathan also put on quite a show, getting down on his knees at the front of the stage (he came right over to me several times, which was awesome) and hopping off the stage to play in the crowd.  Want some Zydeco..take a listen…

CJ Chenier

CJ Chenier

The sets were a good hour or so, and the set breaks were pretty short as they kept rotating in players.  Next up was Sunpie, and I was psyched to see the man take a turn- he got a serious groove going the dance floor was a frenzy!  Too bad I wasn’t getting to frenzy, thanks to the fools that delayed M’s flight… but wait, the phone’s ringing!  Hooray! M’s landed, and after Sunpie’s second song ends, I sprint to the car to go get her.  She hops in and we drive right back to the show as quick as possible.  We missed the end of Sunpie’s set, but CJ Chenier is getting started, and man, that guy can play. But hell, they all can play.  And while the other leaders/bands are coming on, everyone else stays and listens, and takes their cher out on the dance floor.  M and I would bump into CJ later on the floor during Buckwheat’s set.  CJ is going bananas, as is the band and the rest of the place.  CJ plays a good hour, dropping Hot Tamale Baby on us, and M and I twirl around the dance floor while trying not to get elbowed or body checked by another dancing couple.

Buckwheat Zydeco

Buckwheat Zydeco

We hit the set break, grab a drink, sit by an empty bowling alley and relax for a minute.  I find out that M is a complete trooper, having been up till 2 packing, gotten up at 6 and is still standing now and waiting for Buckwheat to come out.  What can I say, the girl loves her some Zydeco.  And Buckwheat didn’t disappoint.  We were especially psyched to cheer when the introduction of Buckwheat was no longer just about his Grammy nominations, but as a Grammy Winner!  Buckwheat burns immediately into “Whatcha Gonna Do?” and the place is going crazy.  CJ is dancing with someone and has a huge grin on his face.  Sunpie is out dancing too.  It’s fantastic- everyone is dancing, smiling and having a ball.  It’s Jazz Fest.  As the show winds down to a close, John Blanchard, Mid City Lanes Owner, asks everyone to clear a path, and one of the bartenders does ten or so back flips in a row!  Insane!  As the band is packing up, Sunpie decides we haven’t gotten enough, so he gives us a little Lagniappe (something extra) by firing up his accordion and singing some more.  CJ Chenier sits down at the organ to join him but for the first couple of minutes there’s no power, which Sunpie found out the hard way when he said “you got it, CJ” to give him a solo, and CJ yells (no mic, but audibly) “got what, I ain’t got nothin!” but finally the power gets back on and a washboard player jumps on stage, and they gave us another half hour of music!

Again, this is exactly what you want your All Star shows to be like- everyone doin their own thing and also doing it together.  For nearly six hours.  Yeah You Right!

I drove us back to our buddy’s spot, quieted the very energetic dog and helped M into bed.  After considering joining LB at Tips for KDTU’s show, I decided Fest is a marathon and I have many late nights still to go, so I climbed into bed with my baby at 3am instead of going back out- though not before predicting to LB that Robert Walter would sit in with KDTU that night and asking her not to tell me about it till the next day.  With my sweetie in town, and her fam due in the next day, and the alarm clock going off in 6.5 hours, Friday is going to be a fun day…

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Rob Adler, Funkster

Rob Adler, Funkster

Editor’s Notes: Everyone please welcome Robert Adler!!  A fellow music loving friend & writer who was nice enough to contribute some musings regarding his first weekend adventures at The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, aka Jazz Fest, to the Tiny Rager blog!   Rob attended Jazz Fest, this year from Thursday, April 22, 2010 through Saturday, April 24, 2010.

Tipitina's JazzFest 2010

Tipitina's JazzFest 2010

Robert Walter @ Blue Nile (4.22.10)

Robert Walter @ Blue Nile (4.22.10)

I arrived in New Orleans on Thursday, April 22.  The highlight of the night was definitely The Stanton Moore Trio consisting of Stanton Moore, Robert Walter, Will Bernard.  Sitting in with them that evening was Anders Osborne.  That was a treat!

Anders Osborne & Stanton Moore @ Blue Nile (4.22.10)

Osborne & Moore @ Blue Nile (4.22.10)

I also enjoyed the Nevillution at Tipitina’s in da French Quarter too! Especially when Troy “Trombone” Shorty, of Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, came and played with Charles NevilleArt (Papa) Funk showed up, but didn’t play – he killed it at the Acura stage on Saturday during The Funky Meters set.  We kept floating back and forth between the Nevillution show & The Stanton/Anders set….just a perfect first night.

Nevillution (04.22.10)

Nevillution (04.22.10)

The brass band (above) was playing right outside of Cafe Brasil, about 100 feet to the left of the Blue Nile as you walk outside the venue on Frenchmen.  That’s the vision I will have in my head and crave for the next 51 weeks until it’s go time again.

Dr Klaw - Blue Nile (04.23.10)

Dr Klaw - Blue Nile (04.23.10)

We slept in Friday day and did nothing. We heard that the rain was coming in hard and that they almost closed the festival down for the day, so we stayed in, slept, ate muffulata from Central Grocery, slept some more, etc…woke up at like 6:30pm and went full steam ahead!!    The line-up for the night consisted of Dr. Klaw, Chapter 2, Galactic, Pimps of Joy Time.

Adam Deitch w/ Dr. Claw @ Blue Nile (04.22.10)

Adam Deitch w/ Dr. Klaw @ Blue Nile (04.23.10)

Seriously, Dr. Klaw brought the dirtiest, nasty funk you crave at shows — the kind that you want to hear when you’re knee deep in a funk set and they just need to turn it up a notch so you can get your freak on! And they turn it up even more because it’s Jazz Fest and you’re in New Orleans and everyone knows it!!  And that is when the magic seeps into the room. Everyone BROUGHT IT.

“Just another one of those wonderful night fest moments…This band was the perfect intermezzo between sets on 4/23, right after Dr. Klaw.”

Pimps of Joy Time @ Jazz Fest 2010

Pimps of Joy Time @ Jazz Fest 2010

When we got to Galactic it was 3 in the morning and the place was PACKED.  I mean jammed like cattle.  They had sold way too many tickets.  The sight lines from upstairs and sound were terrible, so we bailed around 4:30 and went up to Frenchmen for Pimps of Joy Time. They were fun and the room was spacious; very much what we needed at the time; room to breathe. We enjoyed it and walked around Frenchmen street taking in the scene, making friends, sitting on stoops, etc…

Rob and I chatted the other day:

Tube Line @ Jazzfest

Tube Line @ Jazzfest

Did I tell you about the tuba parade at jazz fest?  I was at the fest on Saturday eating some Crawfish Monica and I started to hear tuba lines….lots of them.  So, I turned around and saw twelve tubas heading my way.  What they done was gather all the tuba players from the NOLA community (Kirk Joseph, Tuba Phil Fraizer, Matt Perrine of Bonerama, Ben Jaffe of Preservation Hall Jazz Band etc…).  They had gotten together and paraded around the fairgrounds playing their tubas!”

Cyrille and the Chief Raging

Cyrille and the Chief Raging

Saturday was awesome during day!! The clouds broke during The Funky Meters set and the sun shined with a wonderful breeze during My Morning JacketThe Midnite Disturbers KILLED it too, on Saturday, and closed their set with the Rebirth Brass Band‘s classic, “I FEEL LIKE FUNKIN IT UP!”

Dr Klaw w/ Kofi Burbridge

Chapter 2 w/ Kofi Burbridge

I really forgot how amazing the people and the vibe is. It’s like, sure, you can see a ton of NOLA funk and musicians at gigs in New York and at musical festivals or wherever, but there IS ONLY ONE JAZZ FEST – and that’s in New Orleans.   The vibe was WAY up all weekend in the clubs.  You could tell the second you walked into the right venue that you were in the right place. Smiling, familiar faces, great aroma, nobody says no! It’s all…Can you move over? Yes.  Can I have some of that? Yes.  Can you tell me who that is? Yes.  Can you please play more Clavinet?  Yes. Kraz, can you come out for a 4th time to play with Vinyl? Yes.

Monphonics @ Jazzfest

Monphonics @ Jazzfest

On Sat night, for example, the vibe was so high and the selection of music up on Frenchmen was so plentiful that we actually blew off Big Sam’s Funky Nation & Dirty Dozen Brass Band to go see a band called Monophonics at the Blue Nile!!  Thank heavens that we did.  I saw one of the best funk sets I’ve ever seen.  These guys were on fire fueled by their b3 / clavinet / organ player, Colin Brown.

Neville's Galore @ Jazz Fest

Neville's Galore @ Jazz Fest

These guys are from California, the Bay Area, but I hope they bless us back east with an NYC tour.   Their horn section was top notch, too. They opened for Vinyl, who came out around 4am and just totally blew me away, too.   They had the Monophonics horn section and their keyboard player out for about an hour during their set and all hell broke loose.   Eric Krasno came out and jammed with both bands.

Everyone was so happy to be there.  I wish I was going down there tonight (Monophonics are playing at the Howlin’ Wolf tonight / 4am)….51 weeks and counting.

Jazzfest: A Whirlwind Perspective (04.22-24.10) by Robert Adler

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