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Posts Tagged ‘Sonny Landreth’

The Neville Brothers @ The Nokia Theater

The musical reawakening of New Orleans over the past five years has been something very exciting to watch.  After that bitch named Katrina, the appreciation for New Orleans and it’s musical community has become one of the most visible movements in musical history.  When I think of the face of that movement I think of The Neville Family.  The name epitomizes New Orleans, especially the music community.  Tonight, I would watch legends, survivors, mentors and men bring the essence of New Orleans to a New York City stage.  Aaron agrees…

“This is a strange moment in my career,” muses Aaron. “Since Katrina I’ve devoted months and months to benefit concerts—and that’s been a blessing. My profile and the profiles of my brothers have been raised by the storm. People all over the world see us as the face of New Orleans. They want to hear us play. They want to feel that we’ve survived the storm. They want to be assured that life goes on.” ~ Aaron Neville ~

Rubblebucket @ Nokie Theater

Rubblebucket @ Nokie Theater

I arrived to the Nokia Theater a little after 8:30 knowing I would be missing Rubblebucket for the 8th time.  A friend had snagged me a $10 ticket and I was in the door and down the escalator.  Rubblebucket, opener for the night, was performing their second to last song as I arrived. I didn’t pay attention on purpose because 1) the sax/lead singer girl wasn’t playing her horn, she was just singing and 2) I refuse to truly focus on Rubblebucket until I can listen to them completely in all their raging glory.  During the last song, the horn section and a few others from the stage paraded around the audience. Still didn’t focus, mingled, got my spot with the Funk Live Krewe…on with the show…

The Neville Brothers.  New Orleans Royalty. What else is there to say?  Whenever there is a Neville performing, in whatever project, you can bet that with that name comes talent and a great show 🙂  I will tell you dead ass upfront that I can’t really stand Aaron Neville‘s falsetto.  The radio played The Nevilles SO MUCH in the 80’s/90’s and there was something about his voice.  But then again, at times I find it hauntingly beautiful and distinct.  It’s a love/hate relationship.  We struggled, Aaron and I, throughout the night but the show over all was ON FIRE!! AWESOME!  And it made me love and appreciate Aaron a little more.

The Neville Brothers @ The Nokia Theater

The Neville Brothers @ The Nokia Theater

The heart and soul of New Orleans joined the stage…..

Art Neville (Keys/Piano/Organ/ Brother #1)

Charles Neville (Saxophone/Brother #2)

Aaron Neville – Vocals/ Brother #3

Cyril Neville – Percussion/Vocals/ Brother #4

“Mean” Willie Green – Drums

Chris Severin – Bass

Michael Goods – Keys

Makuni Fukuda- Guitar

The Neville Brothers @ Nokia Theater

The Neville Brothers @ Nokia Theater

Right off the bat they flew into some funky New Orleans love with Shake Your Tambourine!  Cyril was on percussion.  Aaron’s falsetto rang out into the audience.  It was kind of weak for the start.  This is a powerful song and if you are going to open with it, hit it HARD!  They still had a little warming up to do! Charles hitting the hand bell and they grew in front of us. The drums hit harder, the singing got crisper, the tambourine rang clearer.  “The music gonna move ya,” sang the Brothers Neville.  Yes sir, the music started to move us…without a doubt.

Aaron Neville @ The Nokia Theater

Aaron Neville @ The Nokia Theater

A little gospel funk kicked it up a notch with Africa.  This song gave the room just enough funk for us to shake our hips but slow enough to be full of soul.  Art gave it to us on the keys with a kickin’ solo.  You could see the brothers gaining energy. The crowd following suit.  Charles on cowbell, always my favorite haha.  I noticed saxophones at this point and wondered if anyone from Rubblebucket might be joining the stage later.

Brother Jake had Makuni pickin’ his strings givin’ off a rock vibe.  Aaron on tambourine, drums came in and then the funky horns and keys rounded it off.  This song was hot!!  A great intro before Cyril sang the crap out of the song.  The horns, the vocals, it all just sounded so perfect together.  Still cringe a little when I hear the high Aaron but I lose track of him watching Makuni rage a fat solo.  I looked around at this point and see people all over the venue dancing all over the place.  Couples swinging, individuals groovin.  The venue was on fire and it was only the third song. It had taken them less than a song to warm up and less then three to bring the house to a ragin’ dance party of funk goodness.  Charles Neville WAILED on his saxophone towards the end and it was AWESOME as he teased Here Comes The Hotstepper.

Time for the evening’s first recognizable cover as Peggy Lee‘s Fever lit up the stage.  This is such a sexy, sexy song to me.  I find that it should be exclusively left for women like Grace Potter to sing, dancing around men, snapping their fingers.  But, The Neville’s sang it.  Aaron sang and Charles killed it on the sax.  I did love Charles during this song.  It’s a sexy, sensual song and the horn was perfect in place of the vocals.

The Neville Brothers @ The Nokia Theater

The Neville Brothers @ The Nokia Theater

As someone screams One…TWO…ONE..TWO…THREE…the horns wail, the drums pound and the tambourine shakes as Aaron screams “It might be superstition/but some kind of somethin’ goin’ on down there.”  A fun, fun, horn laden song about voodoo and witnessing its practices, originally written by Sonny Landreth.

Charles Neville @ The Nokia Theater

Charles Neville @ The Nokia Theater

There is a distinct sound with The Neville Brothers, am I right? Is it their inherent New Orleans blood? Is it the specific falsetto of the Aaron? Is it the fact that they are family?  Something about them being related allows for the sounds to ring clearer, sharper, crisper.  It’s like the Beach Boy, you always know its them.   Voodoo, a slower song, opened with horns and reminded me of driving down the road with my mother listening to The Neville Brothers on the radio.  Aaron rang out his falsetto, “You must have put voodoo on me/Oh , you must have cast a spell.”  Art Neville raged on his keys, giving us a funky, sparkling solo scaling up and down his board.  “You must have cast a spell /the way you got me loving you girl.”  Charles picks up the smaller sax and goes to TOWN as shit hits the fan when Cyril started banging his drums, his hands flying.

Cyril Neville @ The Nokia Theater

Cyril Neville @ The Nokia Theater

Oh man, Art struck the keys, plinking along in the signature style of Professor Long Hair for Big Chief. Then the horns calls the rest of the instruments in, bongos hit hard by Cyril.  Oh man, the screaming of Cyril. He went ape crazy during this song.  I would venture to guess that this was his favorite song?  He put the most effort and RAGE into this song, into his singing, into his everything.  Just full of soul and fire. CYRIL IS THE MAN!  And, dare I say it, my favorite brother.  He was, by far, the most vibrant, dynamic and radiant on stage that night.  I was able to see him with Galactic earlier this year and was excited to be seeing him again tonight. He did not disappoint.

The lights changed, the horns were low, Art layered down some jazzy keys.  This song was mainly for Charles to show us his talented horn over an awesome bass rage.  it was time for CHARLIE to shine.  There was a gorgeous ending by Charles on the sax and then a huge applause

We can never go without a ballad or six now can we?   Here came Aaron Neville’s falsetto in all it’s glory and it’s definitely an acquired taste.  Here he was singing Sam Cooke’s A Change Gonna Come.  NO ONE can sing that song even close to the way Sam sang it.  I got hooked on the original years ago and had it on repeat for quite some time in college. But here is where I keep my mouth closed and just let you see the video.

Another New Orleans staple, Brother John threw us so hard back into NOLA based funk.  Everybody sang, “Hey now!!”  This weekend was apparently Fleet Week.  Two marine girls were running through the crowd and taking pictures.  They were having more fun then any of us drinking, making out with dudes..ahhhh, I miss spring breaks but glad I am not in the military.

Yellow Moon, a more then famous Neville’s song was next.  Aaron sang his  hip-shaking tambourine vibed song.  Charles picked up another saxophone solo and floored us.  This was such a sexy hip shaking song.  I love how they sped it up and slowed it down throughout the night.  Slowin’ it down, shakin’ it slow.  Aaron with his falsetto echoing off the walls, the bongos banged by Cyril, percussion by Charles all with the bass line popping through.

Henry Butler joined the stage!

Henry Butler joined the stage!

Here we come to my personal favorite songs of the night.  A staple that never gets old, the crowd cheered as Henry Butler was brought to the stage for Pocky Way.  This familiar tune, this staple of New Orleans, never gets old.  But if for any reason, this was leaving a stale taste in anyone’s mouth, when Henry Butler joined the stage it raised everything to a whole new level, if only for one song.

It is at this point that the set list and my notes do not match up.  It was clear that they moved away from the page and did their own thing.  Charles was given some time to just rage some funky tunes through his horn.  They certainly plowed into Come To New Orleans.  “You got to get to New Orleans/You gotta show me Mardi Gras.” And then into a lovely a-cappella Gospel song where there was no music, just singing with thier pretty voices. “When this life’s over/I’ll fly away…” This was definitely a mash up, the tambourine quietly shaken and cyrill screamed.  “WHO DAT”

They just raged the Who Dat Chant +  Saints Come Marching In 🙂  As always it gets EVERYONE ALL ROWLED UP!!!!  Just a full faced rage at this point.  People jumping all over.  Then into Amazing Grace with Art on keys and Aaron on vocals soloing but together.  And finally into Bob Marley’s One Love!!  That was the icing on the cake.  The crowd was swaying, arms were being placed over our neighbors shoulders, hugs were being passed out, the love was being felt.  “Let’s get together and feel alright” said The Neville Brothers.  I think they got their point across this night on the stage at The Nokia Theater.  I held on tight to that energy as it would carry me into the 7 Walkers show the following night…

Proposed Set List (off the stage):

Tambourine

Africa

Brother Jake

Fever

Congo Square

Voo Doo

Big CHeif

Charlie

Change Gonna Come

Brother John

Yellow Moon

Pocky Way

Charlie

Funksta

Fiyo / Come To New Orleans

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The 2010 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival:

An “Easy D” Perspective: Friday, April 30, 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)

Canal Street (Photo by Jon Weber)

Canal Street (Photo by Jon Weber)

Although I was extremely well rested from the mega-sleep Thursday night, I did not make it out to the fairgrounds early.  We waited while one of our Krewe finally made it to the hotel after a very bad Air Tran experience.  Hey, more time to party…works for me!

Photo by Lynn Lesh

Photo by Lynn Lesh

The weather forecast for the rest of the weekend was cloudy, windy, with the chance of rain getting worse as the weekend wore on.  The storm that ravaged Nashville, Tennesse and many other places looked like it would stay north of New Orleans; Sunday might be the worst rain day.  We made allowances for the weather by throwing raincoats and ponchos into a backpack.

The Chateau Bourbon Hotel portion of my Krewe turned me on to the school bus shuttle to the Fest.  For a $17 round trip, you get door to door service to the fest in an air-conditioned school bus.  It was like being in the HOV lane!  So much better than taking a taxi.  Take note you future festers!

Photo by Derek B.

Big Chief Victor Harris the 2nd Friday @ Jazz Fest, Jazz & Heritage Stage (Photo by Derek B.)

Once out to the fairgrounds, we paused at the Jazz & Heritage stage for the Fi Yi Yi & the Mandingo Warriors.  Not the best of Indian shows.  We didn’t stay long since we were on our way to Gentilly stage anyway for the subdudes.

The Subdudes (Photo by Adam McCullough)

The Subdudes' John Magnie (Photo by Adam McCullough)

The subdudes are a great roots rock band that has been around on and off since 1987.  They are known for their sparse instrumentation with a strong emphasis on songwriting and vocal harmonies.  The current lineup consists of:

Tommy Malone – lead vocals, electric and acoustic guitars

John Magnie –  vocals, organ, keyboards, accordion

Steve Amedée – vocals, tambourine, drums, percussion, electric mandolin

Tim Cook – harmony vocals, bass, percussion

Jimmy Messa – bass, guitar, vocals

Look for a club show action shots of the subdudes in a future installment.  The dudes set was excellent, left me wanting more…I knew I would see them again soon…

Steve Riley And The Mamou Playboy (Photo by Tamara Grayson)

Steve Riley And The Mamou Playboy (Photo by Tamara Grayson)

Next up: A stroll by the Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do Do stage for Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys, a great Cajun band.  This is an act I have been meaning to check out for years. A special treat: three trombonists from Bonerama joined the stage during their performance!

Steve Riley’s 2008 performance at Jazz Fest earned him a Grammy Award nomination. Though he lost out to Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience Band, Riley is a musician worthy of local support and national acclaim. Zydeco music is mostly heard a little further west, but Jazz Fest is a great opportunity to check out some great local music. ~The Daily Reveille~

The Trio (Photo by David Grunfeld)

The Trio (Photo by David Grunfeld)

Time for some food!  I chose another one of my all time favorites.  My friends and I call it the Trio, but it is identified as a platter.  The Trio consists of Alligator Pie, a large Shrimp Stuffed with Crabmeat, and Fried Green Tomatoes.  Mmmm…and all for $10.

Next up: The set that I have been looking forward to for weeks: The New Orleans Social Club in the Blues tent.  This is an all-star band consisting of:

Ivan Neville (Dumpstaphunk) – Keyboards and Vocals

Henry Butler – Piano and Vocals

George Porter, Jr. (The Meters, etc) – Bass and Vocals

Leo Nocentelli (The Meters) – Guitar and Vocals

Raymond Weber (Dumpstaphunk) – Drums and Vocals

At the fairgrounds, in the below video, the New Orleans Social Club burns through the end of the Wild Tchopitoulas classic “Indian Red.”


If you ever get a chance to see Henry Butler perform, I urge not to walk, but run to see him.  He is a national treasure.  To give you an idea, check out this video about the recording of Honeybee for Papa Mali’s Do Your Thing album:

There was no reason to leave the Blues tent since The Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi Band were up next.   This husband and wife team were excellent as usual.  The band also included a couple of Burbridges:  Oteil, the bassist from The Allman Brothers Band and Kofi, keys, flute, etc. from The Derek Trucks Band.

It was very hot and extremely humid in the tent so my gang moved on.  Earlier in the day, we received word that Aretha Franklin had canceled for some undisclosed diva reason.  Late replacement:  Earth, Wind and Fire at the Acura stage!  Very nice!  After a couple of sexy soulful  tunes, my Krewe (of guys) all started looking at each other kinda funny.  We realized that we better head for the school bus and head back to the French Quarter.  A very nice day indeed.  And the weather held up!!!

Earth, Wind and Fire @ Jazz Fest 2010

Earth, Wind and Fire @ Jazz Fest 2010

Friday Evening at the Rock ‘N’ Bowl

Rock 'N' Bowl

Rock 'N' Bowl

There were lots of great music choices for Friday night club shows.  I really wanted to see 7 Walkers featuring Papa Mali and Bill Kreutzman.  They were playing a theater show opening for Gov’t Mule as well as a later show at Mardi Gras World. When I’m in New Orleans, I much prefer to go to the clubs instead of a theater.  There are so many fun clubs in New Orleans in so many different neighborhoods.  Much of the time, magical things happen when musicians go from club to club to sit in on other artist’s sets.

John Mooney at the Rock 'N' Bowl

John Mooney at the Rock 'N' Bowl

We decided to go to The Rock ‘N’ Bowl, a great music venue and bowling alley in the Mid City neighborhood.   A couple of years ago, The Rock ‘N’ Bowl moved from one location to more spacious quarters on Carrollton Ave.  The new place is much nicer for music, much more spacious and comfortable.  The lineup for the evening:  John Mooney and Bluesiana, Sonny Landreth, and Bonerama.

John Mooney is a delta, swamp, slide, Louisiana blues guitarist and singer who has called New Orleans home since 1976.  John’s trio put on a great performance while enduring the chatter that opening acts inevitably have to deal with.

Sonny Landreth @ Jazzfest 2010

Sonny Landreth @ Jazzfest 2010

Next up Lafayette Louisiana’s own Sonny Landreth, another Louisiana slide master.  I am a longtime fan of Sonny.  How big a fan?  My 12 year old Nissan Sentra sports a Sonny Landreth bumper sticker that reads ‘My Other Car is a Zydecoldsmobile’ which references Sonny’s rockin’ tune USS Zydecoldsmobile.  Sonny has a long career of collaborations with the likes of John Hiatt and the Goners (along with Sonny’s bassist David Ranson), Bonnie Raitt, Buckwheat Zydeco, Jimmy Buffett, and many others.

Grant Street Album

Grant Street Album

For this show, Sonny had his usual power trio setup with David Ranson on bass, and a drummer du jour.  Tunes in the set included Native Stepson, Port of Calling, All About You, and USS Zydecoldsmobile.  To get a sense of Sonny live, I recommend Sonny’s Grant Street live album.

Bonerama:

Lastly we all had to get ‘boned’.   Bonerama is a rock band fronted by several trombones/horns.   In addition to playing killer covers, Bonerama featured three songs in the set from their excellent recently released Hard Times EP.   Later in the show, the Bones brought up to the stage guitarist Jimmy Robinson (Woodenhead, Twangorama) for the end of the set and the encore.  Bones and guitar for Whipping Post and War Pigs!  Yeah you right!

Bonerama set list:

Bayou Betty
Cabbage Alley
Lost My House
The Ocean
Hard Times
I Got Loaded
Close The Door
Whipping Post *
Folly *

Encore: War Pigs *

Note: * w/ Jimmy Robinson on Guitar

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