Jazz Fest recap: Sunday New Orleans, LA May 7, 2017
Story and photos by Ryan O’Malley To submit a review or story for consideration hit us at [email protected]
Coming back for the fourth and final day of Jazz Fest, Sunday proved to be the hottest day of the festival, in terms of temperature and humidity. The music wasn’t too bad, either.
From the YouTube channel of Andrew Gibbs:
Cowboy Mouth, a unique four-piece from New Orleans got the crowd in high spirits on early in the day on the Acura Stage with their infectious blend of rock, jazz and funk. Formed in New Orleans in 2002, Cowboy Mouth draws heavily on crowd participation and is guided by lead vocalist and drummer Fred LeBlanc.
Across the way on the Congo Square Stage, New Orleans staple Walter “Wolfman” Washington and The Roadmasters brought their mix of funk, rock, blues and jazz to an appreciative crowd. Washington has been a fixture in the New Orleans music scene since the early 80’s and is always a welcome addition to Jazz Fest each year. One of New Orleans’ biggest bands to garner national attention, Galactic, brought the funk to the Acura Stage following Cowboy Mouth.
The tight outfit, featuring the incredible Stanton Moore on drums, brought along Erica Falls for some guest vocals and commanding stage presence. The band has been together for 20 years, and the way they incorporate nearly every genre imaginable into their own unique sound is something that has to be seen live to fully appreciate. Another New Orleans musical institution, the immensely talented Preservation Hall Jazz Band, brought some traditional New Orleans big band stylings to the Gentilly Stage.
For anyone visiting New Orleans during Jazz Fest, the opportunity to catch the ensemble at the festival might be your best chance to catch them. While they perform nightly at Preservation Hall, the small confines of the venue makes in extremely difficult to get inside. For instance, a show starting at 7pm typically sees lines starting to form around 3pm. Even showing up that early doesn’t guarantee you’ll get in.
From the YouTube channel of Lisa Latter:
Back on the Acura Stage, alternative rockers Kings of Leon brought about one of the louder performances of the weekend to a large crowd, including their massive hits “Use Somebody” and “Sex on Fire.” For those that didn’t choose the mainstream rock of Kings of Leon, 80 year old blues legend Buddy Guy brought some dirty Chicago blues to the Gentilly Stage. After the death of B.B. King, guy is considered the last remaining old school bluesman still on the road.
Even at the age of 80, Guy can still shred his Fender Stratocaster with the best of them, and still plays with his teeth when need be. As proof of how good Guy can still play, he delivered a rollicking cover of the Jimi Hendrix staple “Voodoo Chile” that left everyone with their jaw on the ground. Over on the Congo Square Stage, legendary songstress Patti Labelle had the crowd in the palm of her hands with her soulful voice.
At age 73, Labelle may sound slightly different than she has throughout her landmark career, but her voice is still something that commands respect no matter what she sings. On one of the smaller stages, New Orleans favorite Kermit Ruffins led a brilliant tribute to the music of Louis Armstrong, while Cajun blues icon Tab Benoit ripped through a set in the Blues Tent. To bring the festival to a close, two of New Orleans favorite acts headlined the main two stages.
Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue closed out the Acura Stage with their mesh of funk and rock. As someone who grew up around the New Orleans music scene, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews has become revered in the current scene, and Jazz Fest has come to appreciate him as much as the fans, and has allowed him to close the festival for several years now.
Across the grounds at the Gentilly Stage, iconic New Orleans funk gods The Meters – who are celebrating their 50th anniversary with the same lineup – brought the crowd to their feet with driving renditions of their most famous songs including “Hey Pocky Way,” and “Fire on the Bayou.” Once again, all the music, food, culture and second line parades that the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Presented by Shell incorporates is just a small sample of what is available to anyone who visits the city.
Along with giving patrons some of the bigger names in music, Jazz Fest also serves as a catalyst for helping people to enjoy everything else the city offers by ending at 7pm each night. So if you want to get a feel for what New Orleans is all about in terms of cultural offerings, Jazz Fest is a must-hit festival for anyone who wants to experience something new. Just don’t forget your sunscreen.
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