Our highlights for Saturday include Trumpet Mafia, Trombone Shorty, and Beats Antique.
Saturday at Jazz Fest, Rod Stewart tags in for Aretha Franklin. I give Stewart credit for aging into the Great American Songbook--even if I don't want to hear him sing those songs--but when he last played Jazz Fest in 2007, he closed with "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy." That might be a question that the then-62 Stewart wondered in his heart of hearts, but making it his final statement/question to the audience made him seem desperate and shallow.
I'll likely spend a lot of my day at the Congo Square Stage. Last year, Big Freedia got a rock star reception when she performed, and I want to see just how big and beloved she can become. (I suspect she'd like to know that too!) Common always has a little gym coach in him in concert, but he’s long overdue at Jazz Fest, and I look forward to hearing him in front of Khalid.
Here is our downloadable schedule, color-coded with our picks, and we have a few basic principles that aren’t on the grid. 1) See something in Economy Hall; 2) See something in the Gospel Tent; and check out international acts. Principles 1 and 2 get you out of the sun and into a world that likely isn’t yours, and 3 gives you a chance to see something you likely won’t see again. Period. Some acts are Culture On Parade and good for you like flossing, but Jazz Fest does a pretty good job of getting acts that are wrestling with ways to honor their traditions in a contemporary context. It’s the same challenge that the best New Orleans and Louisiana bands manifest in their music.
Here are a few sets we want to make sure are on your radar:
Trumpet Mafia (WWOZ Jazz Tent, 12:15 p.m.)
Big Freedia (Congo Square Stage, 2:10 p.m.)
Butler Bernstein & the Hot 9 (WWOZ Jazz Tent, 2:40 p.m.)
The Last Bandoleros (Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do Do Stage, 5:50 p.m.)
At Night, the Trey Anastasio Trio plays the second night of his stay at The Civic Theatre, DJ Soul Sister throws the Jazz Fest edition of her Hustle! party at The Orpheum, and The Nth Power’s tribute to Nirvana at midnight at One Eyed Jacks.
Royal Teeth at Santos Bar (8 p.m.)
Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue’s Treme Threauxdown at the Saenger Theatre (8 p.m.)
Imarhan at Gasa Gasa (9 p.m.)
Beats Antique at The Joy Theater (2 a.m. Sunday morning)