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Posts Tagged ‘Mardi Gras Indians’

The Funky Meters (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

The Funky Meters (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Three Nights of The Funky Meters @ The Brooklyn Bowl (01.15-17.11)

This was an event!  In the same spirit as Phanatics travel to Coventry for three nights of Phish, died hard Meters fans traveled far and wide to witness The Funky Meters magic occur over a span of three nights at the beloved Brooklyn Bowl in Brooklyn, NY.

For having never been to New York, I have never felt more at home in a brand new place. I can’t help but compare the room to the Rock N Bowl in New Orleans, a similar venue with a bowling alley and large stage for music, but this room has a great layout. A bar in the back, with a large dance floor area, the stage straight ahead. And to the side, a few steps up, rows of bowling lanes, with a walkway in front, providing a side stage vantage that lets one really feel like part of the performance. Everywhere you stand, there is a great vantage point of the stage, the lighting is good and the sound quality anywhere in the room was great too. ~ NOLA resident, Ananda Atmore

George Porter Jr. (Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

George Porter Jr. (Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

Back in 1967, Art “Poppa Funk” Neville collected a funky gang of New Orleans musicians who would come to be known as The Meters, .  George Porter Jr. played bass, Art “Poppa Funk” Neville played keys, Joseph (Zigaboo) Modeliste on drums and Leo Nocentelli on guitar! In 1977, they called it quits, leaving behind a musical legacy cementing them as Funk pioneers.

Russel Batiste (Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

Once the group disbanded, Art “Poppa Funk” Neville joined with his brothers performing as The Neville Brothers while George Porter Jr. founded PBS, or Porter, Batiste and Stolz.  Since The Neville Brothers were not touring this season, Art Neville was openly available to hit the road with The Funky Meters, who are the members of PBS with the addition of Art “Poppa Funk” Neville.

Art “Poppa Funk” Neville – Keys
George Porter, Jr. – Bass
Brian Stoltz – Guitar
Russell Batiste, Jr. – Drums

Brian Stolz (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Brian Stoltz (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

It had been three years since The Funky Meters last played together. When Brian Stoltz isn’t wowing the audience with his shredding guitar style with The Funky Meters, Ian Neville holds the guitar spot. Essentially, in the middle of all these Meters heads were PBS fans and EVERYONE was a George Porter Jr. fan! But, honestly, who doesn’t love George Porter Jr.?  Go check my facebook info under “religion”, you’ll find George Porter Jr.‘s name stands alone!

(Photo by Dino Perrucci)

(Photo by Dino Perrucci)

The Funky Meters (02.15.11)

Art “Poppa Funk” Neville – Keys
George Porter, Jr. – Bass
Brian Stoltz – Guitar
Russell Batiste, Jr. – Drums

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

I was lucky enough to have the wonderful New Orleans photographer Jeffrey Dupuis (Jeffrey Dupuis Photography) as a house guest for the three night run.  We arrived in Brooklyn just in time to grab something to eat some scrumptious $3.50 falafel sandwiches at Oasis, one of my favorite spots to hit before heading to The Brooklyn Bowl.

The turn out for a Tuesday night was exactly what we thought it would be. The venue was no where near sold out but the place was full of people who knew what was going to take place on stage that night. And what a great warm-up performance it was.

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

As they took the stage, each member had a blazing smile on their face and the audience was wild with applause. George Porter Jr. notices a couple in the audience wearing a “George Matters” tie-dyed tee shirt, the same shirt they had personally created and gifted to him many moons ago.  “I recognize that shirt,” he states as he starts the first jam, which was so unbelievably funky.

The following four songs were from The Meters catalog.  “The World” brought the funk full throttle as Brian Stoltz reminded me how much I had missed seeing him perform.  He is truly superb with his rock-driven funk guitar styling. “Fire on The Bayou” and “Change/Reform”  had the entire audience singing as they were the most recognizable Meters songs performed that night.  Porter growled deeply into the microphone as they pounded out a wonderful “Here Comes the Jungle Man” that book-ended a “They Don’t Know” tease.

The noticeable covers of the night were Lee Dorsey‘s “Get Out of My Life, Woman”, Professor Longhair‘s “Going to Mardi Gras” and Tom Waits‘s “Way Down in the Hole”. Porter and Russell Batiste, Jr. both pulled out solos that earned their own spot in the set list! Art showed his age but with a smile on his face, he played through with energy and had a few golden moments himself.

Best reason to do three nights: Rare Songs ~ NOLA Photographer Jeffrey Dupuis

In the end, we were given almost two hours of pure Funky Meters gold and we all walked out of The Brooklyn Bowl terribly excited and putting together our wish list for tomorrow night’s set list!

Set List – Night I
A Jam*
The World Is A Little Under The Weather >
Chicken Strut >
…Fire On The Bayou >
Cardova >
Get Out Of My Life Woman >
Here Come’s The Jungle Man >
They Don’t Know (tease) >
Here Come’s The Jungle Man >
Change/Reform >
Hang ‘Em High >
Africa >
Going To Mardi Gras >
Cabbage Alley >
Going To Mardi Gras >
Porter’s bass solo >
Way Down in The Hole >
Russel Drum Clinic>
Just Kissed My Baby
Porter’s bass solo >
Just Kissed My Baby >
It Ain’t No Use

* Art sings Billy Jean (Michael Jackson)

(Photo by Dino Perrucci)

(Photo by Dino Perrucci)

The Funky Meters (02.16.11)

Art “Poppa Funk” Neville – Keys
George Porter, Jr. – Bass
Brian Stoltz – Guitar
Russell Batiste, Jr. – Drums

Special Guests:
Nigel Hall– Vocals/Keys
Eric Krasno – Guitar
Adam Deitch – Drums

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

The second night had more of a turn out.  People had heard the buzz about the previous night and the venue was now 60-70% full.  My girlfriend, Ananda, was flying in from NOLA directly to the show.  As she flew towards us to the airport, my NYC crew and I hightailed it from Rockwood Music Hall after watching Nigel Hall Band perform on their quaint stage.  We all had our rage faces on as there would also be a third show we would be hitting after The Funky Meters.  As well, we had the knowledge of knowing that the Nigel Hall Band would be joining The Funky Meters on stage later that night. The excitement was never ending.

I had flown in straight from New Orleans, made my way through the crowd of smiling faces. Instant reunion with Jam Cruisers, NOLA to NY music lovers and friends old and new. It was my turn to come to their town. Love was everywhere, and the hugs and smiles were abundant, on stage and off. ~ NOLA Resident, Ananda Atmore

Porter was wearing yet another form of tie-dye shirt and Batiste was in another sports jersey, this time white.  The boys don’t stray too much from their signature styles.  Just like their first night, they started off with songs from The Meters catalog with favorites like “Here Come The Meter Man” and “Look-Ka Py Py.”

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

The covers of the evening were Roger Miller‘s “Chug-A-Lug,” Professor Longhair‘s “Tipitinas” and “Big Chief.”  The encore gave us “Higher” and “Sing A Simple Song,” both  Sly and The Family Stone covers while “Them Changes” was a Buddy Miles tune made popular by Jimi Hendrix and Band of Gypsies. “Peace Pipe” has me a bit confused. A friend suggested it might be a Mardi Gras Indian song.

“Love Slip Up on Ya” is a song specific to The Funky Meters catalog and Brian Stoltz once again blasted us with his masterful guitar. “Ride Me Dunky,” also a Funky Meters tune, saw Porter giving us his deep bass lines.

Stepping off stage for only a few moments, the fellas came on stage to perform “Be My Lady.”  However, as amazing as they were alone, The Funky Meters show blasted out of  control when the Nigel Hall Band took the stage for the remainder of the three-part encore.  Nigel grabbed the microphone, Adam Deitch sat in on drums and Eric Krasno played a second guitar for Sly Stone’s “Sing A Simple Song” and “Higher.”

I heard the first few notes of a familiar song, and thought “could it be?”. Are they really going to play it? YES! It was “Be my Lady”! This is an old Meters song that I haven’t heard performed in several years now, and a long time favorite of mine. This was my golden musical moment, and hearing them perform this song made the whole trip worth it in one moment. ~ NOLA Resident Ananda Atmore

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

The energy on stage was palpable. Watching Eric Krasno play across from Brian Stoltz was magnificent.  Two of my favorite guitarists having so much fun with each other on stage. Russell Batiste, Jr. banging on a cowbell, dancing all over the stage as he helped knock the energy up to another level. Art “Poppa Funk” Neville needed key changes shouted out a few times and then he left Nigel Hall to take over as he walked away for a breather and took the time to dance around to the music.

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

The Royal Family remained on the stage with the The Funky Meters to close out the show! And what a show this was.  The second night had been pure fire!! It was off to the third show of the night: DJ Nutritious‘s Bembe rage with Nigel Hall and Stephen Chopek.

Download Link To The Funky Meters @ The Brooklyn Bowl (02.16.11)

Set list – Night II
Here Comes The Meter Man >
Look-Ka Py Py >
Too Funky >
Bass intro Too >
Chug A Lug
Love Slip Up On Ya
Keep on Marching (Funky Soldier)
That Ain’t The Way to Carry On
Funkify Your Life
My Baby
Tipitina’
Hoo Chie Coo
Ride Me Dunky/Soul Island
Message From The Meters
People Say
Bass Intro too >
Big Chief>
Peace Pipe

Encore
Be My Lady
Sing A Simple Song*
Higher*
Them Changes*
Cissy Strut – tease*

*w/guest Nigel Hall, Eric Krasno & Adam Deitch

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

The Funky Meters (02.17.11)

Art “Poppa Funk” Neville – Keys
George Porter, Jr. – Bass
Brian Stoltz – Guitar
Russell Batiste, Jr. – Drums

Special Guests:
Eric Krasno – Guitar
?uestlove – Drums
Nikie Glaspie – Drums

(Photo by Alison Murphy)

(Photo by Allison Murphy)

Here we were, the third night of The Funky Meters.  The house was packed and this time, I was going to rage front row, right under George Porter, Jr.. I had taken myself from the front of the stage the previous nights to write on the elevated side of The Brooklyn Bowl because I knew I would dance away from my responsibility of writing if I was up front. Again, he is my religion after all.

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

As I walked around the venue throughout the show, I ran into musicians like Nikie Glaspie who was utilizing a bowling with her friends.  Henry Butler was standing amongst the crowd with a huge smile on his face.  Joe Russo and Eric Krasno were watching from backstage while the owner himself, Pete Shapiro, positioned himself atop a speaker right on the side stage sucking the entire thing in with a beaming persona.

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

It started off the same as the nights previous.  Batiste was wearing another green jersey, Porter was in yet another tie-die, Stoltz was in a button up with a few hipped out accessories. I forgot to mention his Kenny Rogers look he’s raging this tour.  He pulls it off nicely! The tapers were out in full force.  Sadly, even though I saw tapers each night, the third night was the only recording that could be found. Enjoy!

Download Link To The Funky Meters @ The Brooklyn Bowl (02.17.11)

The funky foursome brought the heat immediately after a funky, funky warm-up jam got the night started right.  Porter had his feet firmly planted into the ground as he put the bass in our face front row.

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

The night was full of amazing, jamming covers.  We got “Rainy Day Women” by Bob Dylan, “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton and “Love the One Your With” by Crosby, Stills and Nash.

(Photo by Alison Murphy)

(Photo by Allison Murphy)

There was a KILLER Rock-a-billy vibe during “Big Boss Man”, a Luther Dixon song made famous by Jimmy Reed.  They ran through “Simple Song” again, the Sly cover from the previous night.  The crowd was on fire, singing along to everything, filling in the lyrics when Art couldn’t remember them as they barely got through The Allman Brothers‘ “Midnight Rider” where Stoltz saved the day with a ripping guitar solo.

We had a few repeats with “Funkify Your Life”, “Hoochie Coo”, “Fiyo On The Bayo”, “Junko Partner” and “Cabbage Alley” among others. All audience favorites that we didn’t mind hearing over and over again.  “Aiko Aiko,” a James Crawford song made famous by the one and only Dr. John had the place erupting with dancing feet.


(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

The entire night was so high energy and the event was capping off such a full week of funky New Orleans Love, it was just outstanding. Towards the end of the night, Eric Krasno, Nikie Glaspie and ?uestlove joined the stage for a percussion driven rage. Batiste, Glaspie and ?uestlove took turns beating the drums, the cowbell and just about anything else they could find to hit within their reach.  Krasno was back on guitar facing off across Stoltz.

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

The encore saw Krasno leave the stage and then jump back on as they weren’t done with him yet. The wicked funky “Keep on Stretching Your Rubber Band” and “Audubon Zoo”, originally titled “All Asked For You” and changed by their manager, closed the three night run.

The 3rd night didn’t disappoint either. The set list speaks for itself really. They played again Sing a Simple Song, which had me on the front row jumping and smiling even more enthusiastically than before. And the encore of Keep on Stretching your rubber band. Pure Funky Meters magic. ~ NOLA Resident Ananda Atmore

The Funk Meter was off the charts this last night.  Even though watching The Funky Meters is similar to watching Furthur, in the respect that they aren’t spring chickens anymore, they brought the FIYO to the Brooklyn Bowl the past three nights.

(Photo by Alison Murphy)

(Photo by Allison Murphy)

I watched as all the men got up, gathered in the center of the stage and bowed before us.  Porter walked to the front of the stage and I got a smile and handshake from him as he continued down the line of people in the front row shaking hands and thanking the audience for coming. I might never wash this hand.

Alison Murphy caught Porter shaking my hand! (Photo by Alison Murphy)

Allison Murphy caught Porter shaking my hand! (Photo by Alison Murphy)

The final part of this musical adventure placed me upstairs in the backstage area, shaking hands, hugging and taking pictures with George Porter Jr.  It was a trio of nights that I will NEVER forget. I hope you enjoy(ed) the shows!!

Setlist: Night III
Jam >
Funky Miracle >
Funkify Your Life >
Rainy Day Women >
9 to 5
Hey Pocky Way >Cissy Strutt >
Love the one you’re with >
Hoochie Coo
He Bite Me (the Dragon) >
Voodoo Child* >
Fiyo on the Bayou >
Big Boss Man >
Aiko Aiko ^ >
Junko Partner >Midnight Rider >
Simple Song #  >
Cabbage Alley >
Baby What you want me to do >
Hey Pocky Way

Encore
(Keep on Stretching) your Rubber Band
Audubon Zoo (All asked for you)
* w/ Billy Jean (Michael Jackson) tease
^ w/ She’ll be coming round the mountain
# w/ Krasno, ?uestlove, Nikki Galaspie
(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

Me and my Religion :) GPJR!!  (Photo by Ananda)

Me and my religion 🙂 GPJR!! (Photo by Ananda)

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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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