Anderson .Paak Didn't Need the Weather to Generate Heat at Champions Square

Anderson .Paak knows that his face is his money. He named the tour that brought him to Champions Square Saturday night “The Best Teef in the Game Tour,” and he showed off his fine set of choppers all show. His face is so important that he mounted a camera on his drum kit so that even when he was playing, we could see him. 

Shorty, Nevilles Belatedly Pass the Torch at Jazz Fest

Jazz Fest producer Quint Davis introduced the festival-closing set by saying that three acts had closed the fest on what is now the Acura Stage—Professor Longhair, the Neville Brothers, and Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue—and that two of the three were coming up. There were a few other acts between Longhair’s death in 1980 and 1986 when the Neville Brothers took up residency in that spot, but the time slot has been associated with the Neville Brothers and Shorty for more than 30 years.

Lost Bayou Ramblers Explore Cajun's Outer Limits at Jazz Fest

A lot was good on Friday at Jazz Fest, but nothing was as mind-blowing as the Lost Bayou Ramblers’ set. The Cajun band has shown a healthy sense of adventure since 2012’s Mammoth Waltz, but you could almost always trace musical ideas back to Cajun musical traditions. Friday, they went further out, and it sounded better for the moments of musical exploration.

New Orleans Makes its Presence Known at South By Southwest

Of the hundreds of bands that played in Austin last week, only 14 New Orleans acts performed at official South By Southwest showcases. But these acts—along with a few other Louisiana bands and yet a few more who played unofficial shows—provided a vivid, if incomplete, music industry State of the Union for our little sliver of Planet Earth.

The Internet Finds Its Crowd In New Orleans

I saw The Internet almost exactly one month before its performance in New Orleans when it opened for Gorillaz in Chicago, and I was one of the only people around me who knew the band’s music. That night, I got side eyes for knowing and singing along to its songs, but at the House of Blues recently, The Internet’s fan base was devoted. The outpouring of love and energy was unlike anything I’d ever seen, and it was clear that band members were surprised as well.

An Unplanned Ending the Only Blemish on Janelle Monae's Voodoo Set

[Updated] The last time Janelle Monae played Voodoo, it was located in City Park’s Marconi Meadows in 2010, She was touring behind her debut album, The ArchAndroid, and when she performed “Tightrope” to close the show, she tipped the tightrope on the ground in front of 50 or so people who supportively gave her room to move. 

Tank and the Bangas Are Right Band, Right Time

Tank and the Bangas have become one of the best stories in New Orleans music. Their growth as artists and performers has been steady, and success hasn’t come at the cost of their nerve. Instead of remaking “Walmart” again and again or—worse—simplifying their songs to make them more conventional, they’ve asked more of their audiences instead of less.

Jazz Fest: Shorty Honors the Nevilles

Trombone Shorty’s fest-closing set deserves to be the ritual that the Neville Brothers’ set used to be. The shows have been impressive, funky, and a lot of fun as he worked to justify occupying the slot, and each one has shown meaningful growth. He concluded this year’s Jazz Fest by using his songs as starting points for more expansive musical experiences.

Jazz Fest: Tuesday Night in the Clubs

In recent years, Jazz Fest at night has been a jam fest, and that’s certainly going on. Every night this time of year, some combination of guys who don’t usually play together are playing something funky somewhere in New Orleans. Fortunately, this year’s offerings have been broader than that. People are still jamming, but we also get nights like tonight, where our highlights have a little range to them.

Jazz Fest: Saturday's Best at the Fest and the Clubs

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.

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