Sandro Perri's Other Life and Dirk Gently's Over the Top

Sandro Perri’s In Another Life mirrors my morning routine. I floated out of my bed this morning in a blue-gray fog. I showered, brushed my teeth, and scrolled through my phone, moving through monotonous motions with a strange sense of bliss. When I’m so robotic, how can I be sure that I’m alive?

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.

Kirasu Does the Heavy Reading

“I know what I know / I’m well-read,” Sarah Fontenelle sings in “Cycles,” the first track from Kirasu’s Constellations. Reading is in the DNA of the New Orleans-based alternative rock band, not just because it uses words but because shared reading lists on meaty topics helped Fontenelle, her husband Alex Smith, and the late Dave Rosser determine the nature of the band including the language with which th

QOTSA, Beach House, Weedie, and "Exile" Play Night Shows During Jazz Fest

The jam wave that followed Phish’s first appearance at Jazz Fest changed New Orleans’ nightlife during the festival, for years turning it into a place where the members of Lettuce are royalty, Grateful Dead-like jams take place nightly, and friendships made on the Jam Cruise find a stage. Funky jazz rock, rocky jazz funk, and jazzy funk rock have been the dominant sound for a decade, but this year featured some shows that acknowledged the broader spectrum of music. On Friday, April 27, the festival closed with sets by Sting and Sturgill Simpson.

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: Aerosmith Acts Its Age

Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler clearly has no plans to grow old gracefully. Saturday at Jazz Fest’s Acura Stage, the lead singer spent much of the set having an obvious, onstage squabble with the sound engineer running the monitors, repeatedly pointing angrily at the wedges in front of him and his in-ear monitor. At one point, Tyler jokingly stopped short of hitting him in the face with the base of his mic stand, and Tyler missed the pick-up in “Sweet Emotion” because he couldn’t let it go.

Jazz Fest: Catching Up with Joe Dyson

Since Joe Dyson was a teenager at NOCCA, he has been one of The Drummers Most Likely To …. He, Conun Pappas, and Max Moran made an impact right away as The Bridge Trio, and became players to watch when they performed an impromptu tribute to the NOCCA teacher and mentor Alvin Batiste at Jazz Fest on the day he died in 2007. They furthered their musical education playing with Donald Harrison Jr. during their stint in the Tipitina’s Intern Program, a program for which Harrison is artistic director.

Jazz Fest: Tank and The Bangas Contain Multitudes

Friday at Jazz Fest was a lesson in context. I went into the day excited to see Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, but after an afternoon that included Fiend, 3D Na’Tee, Tank and The Bangas, and Jupiter & Okwess from the Congo, a dude with carefully crafted country(ish) songs didn’t fit the day’s flavor profile. The musical and lyrical clarity in his songs were also at odds with the sometimes gnarly music I got from Tank and Jupiter. 

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.

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