Jazz Fest: David Byrne, Jon Batiste End the First Weekend on a High Note

[Updated] This first weekend of Jazz Fest will be remembered—to the degree that it will be remembered at all—for its extreme pleasantness. Whether because Festival Productions economized this year because they have their eye on their 50th anniversary in 2019 or because the right big ticket talent simply wasn’t available this year, the headliners were respectable but not spectacular draws. Sunday was the busiest day of the weekend with David Byrne and Jimmy Buffett topping the bill, but the crowds remained manageable throughout. 

Rotary Downs Traces a New Wave

When Rotary Downs concluded its Jazz Fest set with a cover of Gary Numan's "Cars," the choice seemed obvious. The band's set featured much of the music from its new album, Traces, and new wave sonic textures show up regularly on the album's songs. Sting's bass drives "Orion," a hairy, farting synth opens "Tent City," and Chris Columbo seems to have an endless arsenal of compressed guitar sounds that give his lead lines unnatural presence in the mixes.

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