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New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Fest Weekend One in Review (MM & MSM)

30 Apr 2013

written by Mod Mobilian


New Orleans Jazz Fest Weekend One in Review


My Spilt Milk:

Day 1 Review:

I give Dr. John credit for committing to the return to his psychedelic self. Other artists who’ve made albums with auteur producers that revisit their former selves back away from that album fairly quickly… Unfortunately, his band – the Nite Trippers – simply wasn’t didn’t have enough game for his material… Those around me attributed the band’s shortcomings to not being from New Orleans, but the band on Locked Down were from out of state as well. On Friday, they just weren’t up to his material and stature.

Recent Jazz Fests have been a reminder that time forces a changing of the guard, as The Radiators hung it up, and this year The Nevilles perform one day while Aaron performs another, neither closing the Acura Stage. You often notice that some of the funk legends are not what you lovingly remember and hope for, but not George Porter Jr. He remains reliably funky and committed to the thing he does.

Day 1 Photos by David Fary


Day 2 Review:

EDM is the personification of that heathen music, guaranteed to perplex if not annoy anyone over 30, and it’s hard to imagine it would have played at Jazz Fest if it weren’t part of this year’s Native American component. When A Tribe Called Red took to the Gentilly Stage Saturday, it may be my imagination, but it seemed like the PA that often bounces sound off the Grandstand facing was tamed, so much so that from the track at the opposite end of the field from the stage, it sounded like the DJ trio was warming up. The audience certainly wasn’t ready.

Charles Bradley… started with such tightly wound reserve that every hip shake and shoulder shrug was dramatic, and each gullet-scorching cry from “The Screaming Eagle of Soul” was a wake-up call. Not that the audience needed it. The ushers had their hands full trying to get dancers out of the aisles almost from the first note.

Day 2 Photos


Day 3 Review:

Calexico fit its set on the Gentilly Stage in the relatively dry window, doing what it could to celebrate New Orleans after the experience of writing much of its Algiers album at The Living Room on the West Bank. “Para” and “Sinner in the Sea” were the show’s dramatic centerpieces, but it was great to see them show a looser side as well, performing Bobby Charles’ “See You Later, Alligator.” Later, guitarist Jairo Zavala took a one-note guitar solo, something I can’t remember anybody else doing at Jazz Fest with the exception of Bob Dylan. When Bob did it though, it was less obvious that he was doing it for fun.

Magary Lord of Bahia, Brazil didn’t just start the party at Congo Square; they modeled it. With a pair of female backing vocalists and two male dancers,  there was a good time happening onstage before we joined in. And it worked.

Day 3 Photos



Mod Mobilian:

The 44th New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival kicked off Friday April 26th with beautiful weather and as usual featuring national headliners backed by tons of New Orleans and Louisiana bands.  As is our wont, we skipped Billy Joel, John Mayer, Dave Matthews & co. to cover the Louisiana artists.

Here is a compendium of Friday and Saturday featuring: Voices of Peter Claver, Creole Wild West, Paul “Lil Buck” Sinegal, Bonerama, Voice of the Wetland All-Stars, Tab Benoit, Anders Osborne, Alexis & the Samurai, Zena Moses & Rue Fiya, True Man Posse, John Mooney, Herbert Herdesty, Tim Laughlin.


A highlight of Jazz Fest is the South American artists, such as Salvador, Bahia, Brazil’s Magary Lord:

Lafayette’s Lost Bayou Ramblers played to a large crowd:


John Michael Rouchell premiered his new band featuring The Bridge Trio’s drummer Joe Dyson and bassist Max Moran:

Sunday started with thunderstorms, although Hurray for the Riff Raff still had a good crowd at the main (Acura) stage despite the lightning.  Tuscon’s Calexico recorded their last album Algiers in the area and so have joined a growing list on honorary New Orleans musicians.

And then there were the mud shenanigans (

Two other worthwhile discoveries are the Sync Up conference for music industry professionals on both Fridays & Saturdays of Jazz Fest, and the WWOZ tent with plenty of good fruit and iced coffee:

Lastly, there are the shows at night in venues around town – which included the like of Charles Bradley (with Hurray for the Riff Raff), Atlanta’s Deerhunter, and many more.  Just check out Offbeat’s music listings and you will probably never see a more packed schedule of weeknight shows in your life:


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