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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: 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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