Jazz Fest: The Second Saturday at the Fest and at Night

Saturday at Jazz Fest ends with Cage the Elephant and Aerosmith opposite each other at the Gentilly and Acura stages. One rocks; one used to rock. Cage the Elephant has never sounded as gloriously decadent as Aerosmith in the ‘70s, but neither has Aerosmith since the ‘70s. I realized at one point in their 1980s comeback that I cared more about what happened to Alicia Silverstone in their videos than the songs themselves, and that was that.

Jazz Fest: The Second Friday at the Fest and at Night

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.

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

The second weekend of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell starts today with Locals Thursday. For the first time, locals actually get a discount on tickets—$50 down from $80 at the gate with no fees. Festgoers can get up to two locals tickets at ticket booths at the Fair Grounds with a Louisiana driver’s license, a Louisiana ID card, or college ID from a Louisiana institution if it has a photo on it.

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: Monday's Highlights in the Clubs

This first weekend of Jazz Fest 2018 is in the books, and while little music on the weekend was memorable, the weather and small to moderate crowds made it a great time to be at the Fair Grounds. You could rest your feet today after three days of stomping the track, but if you do, you’ll miss out on some pretty cool shows. Monday night is Instruments a-Comin’, a benefit for Tipitina’s Foundation, and the lineup inside is Tipitina’s boiled down to its essence.

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.

Jazz Fest: Friday's Best at the Fair Grounds and the Clubs

Friday’s schedule is typical of this year’s Jazz Fest. There’s a lot to see, but it’s not obvious where everybody will be, nor is it obvious who people should see. Among the headliners, Sturgill Simpson is far more relevant in 2018 than Sting or Steel Pulse, but Jazz Fest doesn’t usually put a premium on relevance. After Hamilton, Leslie Odom Jr. may matter more right now than all three.

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