Whether you're in town for Jazz Fest or Collision, the musical choices are dizzying.
Bluntly, there's too much to do during Jazz Fest. Too many bands, too many possibilities, too many things that might be cool. Looking at schedules can be overwhelming, so we've narrowed the choices a bit. Our choices reflect our priorities, particularly the absence of jams and ad hoc bands. My roots in punk and pop and the three-minute song are too strong to connect to something as inefficient as jamming. If that's your thing, it's easily found. The Howlin' Wolf and One Eyed Jacks have strong jam/funk lineups Here are some other options.
If the venue isn't linked, it's because tickets are only available at the door.
Tuesday, April 26: This is the first year for NOLA Brewery's Crawfish Festival, which features the company's beer, hot, boiled crawfish, and funky blues. Tuesday night features for Bauhaus singer Peter Murphy, reggae legend Bunny Wailer, and percussionist Mike Dillon's percussion group, which uses the phrase "punk rock" liberally. The Dolo Jazz Suite is a chill scene with music by bedroom beatmakers and laptop producers.
NOLA Crawfish Festival, 3 p.m. (NOLA Brewery), Peter Murphy, 8 p.m. (House of Blues), Bunny Wailer, 9 p.m. (Tipitina’s), Mike Dillon's Punk Rock Percussion Consortium, 9 p.m. (Gasa Gasa), Tribute to Fela Kuti and James Brown with Kumasi, Full Orangutan, and Gov't Majik, 10 p.m. (Hi-Ho Lounge), Dolo Jazz Suite, 10 p.m. (Dragon's Den)
Wednesday, April 27: Chaz Fest began as a chance for bands left out of Jazz Fest to play and has evolved into an important part of many people's Jazz Fest. Because its Truck Farm site on St. Claude Avenue has been sold, this is the backyard festival's victory lap. The NOLA Crawfish Festival continues, and The Lost Bayou Ramblers fiddle and accordion-playing brothers join the well-known blues guitarists for something that should be cool.
Thursday, April 28: Chickie Wah Wah in Mid-City has two great shows from Austin--picker Bill Kirchen, best known as the guitar player on "Hot Rod Lincoln," and the great Alejandro Escovedo. Trombone Shorty headlines Shorty Fest, which raises money for his foundation. The Grid pride themselves on being "your favorite rapper's favorite band," and they'll pay tribute to the late hip-hop producer and artist J. Dilla with the help of rapper Nesby Phips and horn player Khris Royal.
Bill Kirchen and Austin DeLone, 8 p.m. (Chickie Wah Wah), Shorty Fest, 8 p.m. (House of Blues), Alejandro Escovedo, 10 p.m. (Chickie Wah Wah), Delicate Steve, 10 p.m. (Gasa Gasa), J. Dilla tribute feat. The Grid with Nesby Phips and Khris Royal, 10:45 p.m. (The Dragon's Den), Black Joe Lewis, 2 a.m. Friday morning (Tipitina's)
Friday, April 29: The Last Waltz will bring together a musical who's who to recreate The Band's 1978 goodbye concert and farewell to the '60s. Mumford and Sons' Ben Lovett is one of the artists curating the Communion series, which features the New Orleans-formed Austin residents My Jerusalem. Jazz sax player Kamasi Washington played on Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly, for which he also arranged and conducted the strings. He doesn't do things small. His most recent album, The Epic, is a three-disc set, and at Coachella recently, he stunned with a 13-piece band. He's playing four shows in New Orleans in two night.
Lucinda Williams, 8 p.m. (House of Blues), The All-Star Last Waltz, 9 p.m. (Saenger Theatre), Communion New Orleans with My Jerusalem, 9:30 p.m. (Gasa Gasa), James Brown birthday tribute, 10 p.m. (The Republic), Los Lobos, 10 p.m. (The Republic), The Soul Rebels, 10 p.m. (d.b.a.), Kamasi Washington, 11:55 p.m. (One Eyed Jacks), Lost Bayou Ramblers, 2 a.m. Saturday morning (d.b.a.)
Saturday, April 30: Susan Cowsill has been playing "Covered in Vinyl" shows for almost a decade now, playing her own music and covering an album in its entirety, often with musician friends to help address the specific needs of the album. This week, she'll play Bruce Springsteen's Darkness on the Edge of Town, and Paul Sanchez will play before her--and likely with her--singing songs from other parts of Springsteen's career. The Arcs are a side project for The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, and the show at Siberia with Feufollet, King James and the Special Men, and The Revelers will be a cool dance party with Cajun, honky tonk, rock, blues and swamp pop represented.
Paul Sanchez sings Springsteen, 7 p.m. (Chickie Wah Wah), Susan Cowsill covers Darkness on the Edge of Town, 8 p.m. (Chickie Wah Wah), Sonny Landreth, 8:30 p.m. (Rock ’n’ Bowl), The Arcs, 8 p.m., (House of Blues), Kamasi Washington, 8 p.m. (One Eyed Jacks), Big Freedia with a live band, Soul Rebels and Tank and the Bangas, 9 p.m. (The Republic), Jon Batiste and Stay Human, 10 p.m. (Civic Theatre), Feufollet, King James and the Special Men, The Revelers, 10 p.m. (Siberia), Kamasi Washington, 11:55 p.m. (One Eyed Jacks)
Sunday, May 1: In the last year, Irvin Mayfield has done many things. Musically, he and the NOJO have done shows at the New Orleans Jazz Market that explore different artists from a jazz perspective, and the Michael Jackson show certainly honored what made Jackson's songs special, but it also found fresh possibilities in the material. After more than a decade, Dumpstaphunk remains the city's heaviest funk band, and in a nice piece of counterprogramming, the San Francisco-based Brian Jonestown Massacre brings psychedelic garage and folk rock to a city awash in funk.
If you buy tickets to any of these shows, My Spilt Milk will get a piece of the action. Thanks in advance for your support.