Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. - Cyril Connolly
Friday, May 06, 2005
Jazzfest Day 2: The Music and Everything After
We started this glorious day with some truly authentic Cajun / Creole Zydeco music by Goldman Thibodeaux and the Lawtell Playboys. This is true Creole music. Sung entirely in Creole / French and very, very true to its origins. Simply wonderful, toe tapping, stuff. Thibodeaux is widely regarded as one of the very best and most authentic Creole Zydeco artists today, and is widely respected for his authenticity. This was a unique opportunity to hear one of the last, and truly great practitioners of this uniquely American music genre. I really, really enjoyed it. The Fais-do-do Stage (oh, by the way "Fais-do-do" is a Creole term for a type of local dance), was one of my favorites. It was small, intimate, and hosted the very best of indigenous, Cajun/Zydeco/Creole/Rockabilly music. It was also on the way to and from a lot of other venues and a great place to stop and dance for a few tunes on your way to the next major act. I liked the stage itself too. It was an old racing shed dressed up for the occasion:

After our morning "wake up" set from Thibodeaux (and a wonderful cup of Mango Sorbet), I stuck around to hear one or two tunes from Kim Carson and Buffalo Speedway. She's a great musician, but a little too Texas Road House Country for me, so I headed over to hear my man, Charles Neville and his quartet. Like I said yesterday, you can't throw a stick around this place without hitting a Neville. Just incredible. Can't say much more than that.

Now - off to another favorite. I have been a fan of hers for a while and was thrilled to learn she'd be playing Jazzfest again this year: Martha Redbone. In addition to being absolutely gorgeous, this woman can SING. Think Prince meets Sly Stone, meets Alicia Keyes, meets George Clinton, meets Stevie Wonder and Al Green. That's Martha. She really had the crowd going. The Congo Stage where she was playing was also near one of the major food areas, so it was also an opportunity to run over and grab something wonderful for a late lunch. I grabbed a softshell crayfish Po' Boy. Po'Boys are the submarine sandwich / hoagie of New Orleans, and softshell crayfish, like softshell crabs, are the molting stage of the crustacean and can be eaten whole without peeling them. Yum. Nothing like it.

Fortified and warmed up from dancing to Martha, we headed over to what I was anticipating as my favorite act of the day and was not disappointed. Jamie Cullum. What a treat! I had seen him at the Newport Jazz Festival back in September, and he brought the house down. He did it again. He has such an engaging, enthusiastic, JOY for what he does, that you can't help but get drawn in. He was so happy to be there, that it was impossible not to get excited. He played a lot of stuff from his Twenty Something CD, but he also let loose on some covers (Elton John) and some new tunes from his upcoming album, including a haunting song called "Photos", about an old photograph he came across in a shoebox at his Mum and Dad's over the holidays (or as nostalgic as you can be at 25 - sheesh). Darling, darling guy and fun to watch!

We ended the day with 30,000 other folks to hear Widespread Panic, who played an unusually long set (for Jazzfest) of 2.5 hours. Opening with "Fishwater", they had a "sit in" with one of the ubiquitous Neville Brothers, Ivan, on stage, adding a bit of authentic New Orleans soul to the cut's keyboard groove. They played longtime classics, such as "Ain't Life Grand, and also their newest material, including the rapidly developing "Second Skin" (not a reference to my bleeding feet!). Widespread Panic really created a mini-festival within the boundaries of the JazzFest fairgrounds. Continuing the "sit in" tradition, they invited Galactic saxophonist Ben Ellman onstage for a version of "Guilded Splinters", which segued into an extended Dead-style drum jam. Then, inviting his Stockholm Syndrome bandmate Wally Ingram onstage, Dave Schools returned before his fellow axe-men, laying his low-end notes beneath Ingram's eclectic percussion. It was pretty damn cool.

I really hope you USE the links I'm providing to check some of these acts out if you've never heard of them or are simply curious. One of the best things about Jazzfest is discovering music that you weren't aware of. That happened to me with Jeremy Lyons and with a group from tomorrow's lineup that I'll tell you about. Keep in mind that what I am reviewing is less than 10% (!!!) of what was playing at Jazzfest..... 60+ acts a day for four days....

So, after some Widespread Panic, we retired to the hotel for post Festival activities. We were a little more laid back than the previous 2 days thanks to the sunshine, music, dancing, and wear and tear of two previous days! When we were on the balcony of the Red Rhino the previous evening, we were envious of the diners across the street at a wonderful Bourbon St. restaurant with tables on its own balcony where you could have a nice meal and enjoy the atmosphere instead of drinking beers and leering at people. I was sure there must be a 2 week reservation necessary for the place, but we simply walked in around 9:30 PM and were seated on the balcony! It was just 3 of us for the evening, the other 5 members of our group had decided to focus on liquid sustenance and a less expensive venue. I had a wonderful dinner of grilled red fish with (what else?) a crayfish sauce, and we had some lovely wine. Afterwards, we did a little shopping and might have had a hurricane or two, but nothing too serious. Oh, Diane and I did perform a Blow Job or two. Not THAT silly - it's a drink - a shot really - served in a test tube and offered up by hostesses on Bourbon St., sporting less than natural breasts (think Hooters waitresses). We also seemed to be very popular for having beads bestowed upon us that evening, and that's all I'm gonna say on that subject. ;-)

We eventually wandered down to the gay end of Bourbon St. to check out OZ. Diane and I had a LOT of fun, but I think Chuck was a little intimidated by the Dominatrix shemale bouncer dressed up like Pinhead from a Clive Barker movie and wearing 6 inch platforms shoes, who was guarding the door.

There's something for everyone in the Big Easy. Day 3 next......
posted by Broadsheet @ 7:28 PM  
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