J Balvin Introduces Jazz Fest to Reggaeton

I was thinking a lot this weekend about things you never see at Jazz Fest, and I got two more on Sunday. A fan somehow snuck a portable speaker in—portable speakers are not on the Kermit Ruffins-voiced list of prohibited items we hear when entering Jazz Fest!—and played reggaeton in the audience before J Balvin’s set began at the Gentilly Stage. It was great to see people start their own party with their own entertainment, just as it was great to see four girls rush the stage to hug Jack Antonoff during Bleachers’ set before Balvin.

History's a Part of The Meters, Shorty's Jazz Fest Finales

The annual nature of Jazz Fest makes it a perfect time to reflect on how things have changed--not just how the festival or the grounds have changed, or which musicians are no longer with us, but how the acts themselves are different. The Meters’ set Sunday exists in relation to all the other Meters and permutations of Meters members’ shows that I’ve seen—jammy ones, pop ones, metal ones, blues ones, and always funky ones.

Voodoo News: Sundays are For Hangovers and Hanging Out

Sunday frequently seems like Voodoo’s afterparty as part of Saturday night’s crowd heads back to wherever for work on Monday, while others never make it back from Frenchmen Street. Those who found their way back yesterday were in no hurry. They had Saturday to sleep off, or they wanted to watch the Saints, and it looks like Voodoo programmed knowing that would be the case. The day started well but with little fanfare.

Jazz Fest: The Second Sunday's Schedule and Picks

Saturday ended with a number of impromptu water features on the Fair Grounds. Drainage ditches cut into the infield became lakes, particularly at the Acura Stage, where video showed people going knee deep to cross it. The good news is that the water will likely have drained by the opening of Jazz Fest today. The bad news is that the grounds will likely be a muddy mess. And more storms are expected.

Jazz Fest: Context Works Against Red Hot Chili Peppers

Everything is relative. At a Lollapalooza or a rock festival, Red Hot Chili Peppers are funky. At Jazz Fest, they’re a rock band. They love funk, and Flea can be a funky bassist, but their rock is stronger than their funk, and it shows in a place where funkier bands are all around. Sunday, they surprised almost no one when they brought out The Meters with Ivan Neville subbing for Art to join them on the set-ending “Give It Away.” The two bands jammed together at Voodoo in 2006, and Meters’ guitarist Leo Nocentelli played the Acura Stage a few hours before the Chili Peppers.

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