Our picks for Friday include Tank and The Bangas, New Orleans hip-hop, and tributes at night to McCartney, Sly, and James Booker. 

jazz fest schedule

For me, the stretch from 12:25 to 5:25 p.m. Friday is what makes a good Jazz Fest. During that stretch, I hope to see part of the New Orleans Hip-Hop Experience (particularly Fiend and 3D Natee), Lil’ Buck Sinegal with Barbara Lynn, The Nth Power, Tank and the Bangas, Jupiter & Okwess, 79rs Gang, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, and The Soul Rebels. I’m not sure how that stretch will play out for me, but the number of days with stretches like that is a barometer of the quality of a Jazz Fest for me. So far, it hasn’t been much of a problem.

I’ll likely hear how Beck starts, but I’m wary. His House of Blues show in 2014 knocked me out, but the last two times I saw him (including his opening set for U2 in the Superdome) were less impressive as he seemed to sleepwalk through his sets. I’ll likely see how it starts, but I’m prepared to bail for LL Cool J.   

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. 


Kumasi (Jazz & Heritage Stage, 11:20 a.m.)

New Orleans Hip-Hop Experience feat. Fiend, 3D Na’Tee, Cypher, DJ Keith Scott, and Cool Nasty Band (Congo Square Stage, 12:25 p.m.)

Tank and the Bangas (Acura Stage, 1:55 p.m.)

Jupiter & Okwess (Congo Square Stage, 2:55 p.m.)

Jason Isbell (Acura Stage, 3:25 p.m.)

LL Cool J wit Z-Trip (Congo Square Stage, 6 p.m.)

At Night in the Clubs

Tav Falco and Panther Burns at d.b.a. (7 p.m.)

Motet’s tribute to Sly and the Family Stone at the House of Blues (12 a.m.)

Turkauz’s tribute to Paul McCartney and Wings at Tipitina’s (2 a.m.)

NOJO 7: A Tribute to James Booker feat. Davell Crawford at Three Keys (9 p.m.)

Soul in the Horn feat. NOJO 7 w/ Natasha Diggs and DJ Logic at Three Keys (12 a.m.)