Whatchya NOLA ‘Bout That?
(I know all about that)
By Croix Provence
Looking for two weekends of music done right? Want food so good that you smell it before you see it? Interested in crafts and culture? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions (which you should have), pack your bags and head down to the heart of the Big Easy for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival! There is so much to see and hear and taste and experience at this festival that the only way to know is to go. Boasting a lineup backed by musicians that you know have soul, why not check out these seven crazy days of music? It’s a big release, so let’s get right to the breakdown:
Wilco is pretty cool. Keith Urban definitely exists. TTB is a good thing. Louis Prima Jr. is hella cool. There’s a mix of groups and artists down the list that excite me more than the big guns of this day, such as The Mount Hermon Baptist Church Choir, Lars Edegran And The NOLA Ragtime Orchestra, Mia Borders, and The Larry Garner Blues Band. There will surely be plenty of good options for picky listeners, as well as surprisingly good acts for those who are interested in checking out the lower-downs. The best shows are always put on by the enthusiastic newcomers anyway.
Okay, this is a big step up from the lineup on April 24th. The Who?! John Legend?! DUUMMSTAPHUUNK?! All amazing, all worth a one-day ticket. Even if you only go see them, the classic rock bad-assery of The Who mixed with the producing prowess of John Legend, and the ultra funkiness of Dumstaphunk promises an awesome experience! … But where’s the jazz? Dumstaphunk has its elements, as can John Legend, ish. Also, come on… Juvenile and Mannie Fresh? The best of nostalgia, right in your face. Big Sam’s Funky Nation is a fun brass party that you absolutely don’t want to miss! Also consider Terry “Harmonica” Bean, Calvin Johnson, and John Lisi And Delta Funk.
Go for Cowboy Mouth. If only you have one day, go on this day, and go only for Cowboy Mouth. Feel free to thank me later. Jimmy Buffet is obviously fun, but I can’t help but be disinterested in him at this venue… Seems more Tortuga Fest-y. But he’s still good, and a classic party monster. I digress. Tony Bennet and Lady Gaga will surprise you with their mix of strong talents. Pitbull will definitely be a fun show; come with loose lips so you can rap along! The Zion Harmonizers will melt your face right off with their vocal mastery, so don’t miss that. Also, I hear that Flow Tribe is a-maz-ing live, which I genuinely believe. Many other crazy talents are on the lineup for today, but tees ones stand out for their awesomeness and uniqueness. Really, it would take me like fourty-four years to review every single band on here, so trust me when I tell you the good ones.
My excitement for Cowboy Mouth matches Widespread Panic. You MUST! Alison Krauss is also a must-see, but not as must-see-y as Widespread Panic. Today offers a good lineup, but is missing a certain oomph in the headliners; check the lower-downs for another great day of awesome, less known music. Be sure to see Trumpet Mafia, The Iguanas, Otterville Native American Dance Troupe (you won’t regret it), Phillip Manuel Swings The Beatles (all hail Paul), and The Pfister Sisters.
There’s ‘no doubt’ that we all ‘no’ and love No Doubt, so un’doubt’edly you’ll go see No Doubt perform. Note: I should be fired for that. Or given a raise. Seriously, No Doubt will put on a show to remember after a long break between Gwen Stefani and the group. Anthony Hamilton: always lovely. Galactic… So good. No words. But the fact that they will be playing their unique platter of music along with R&B songstress Macy Gray is enough to make my cry. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band is not to be missed, nor is Bamboula 2000. Feel free to explore all facets of today’s lineup, as the mix is solid and full of talent. There’s literally not even a point in telling you which of these groups are good or not because truly, they all are.
Another great day! Sir Elton John is tops! A perfect addition to this festival, and a wonderful stage presence. Jerry Lee Lewis is a fireball of energy and talent. T.I. is almost hilariously out of place, but then again, in my opinion, so is Pitbull. Doesn’t mean it won’t be a fun show! There are also two tribute shows today that promise to be awesome, and those are the tributes to Fats Domino and to Bessie Smith. If you like anything that is good, then you will also love Preservation Hall Jazz Band. From here on out, assume that anything that says ‘Gospel Choir’ or ‘Brass Band’ is going to be a badass time.
Hey now. That’s a good set! The final day of NOLA Jazz And Heritage offers the badassery of The Meters. If you’re in to getting your face rocked right off, then you have to be there for this show! It’s a mix of all things awesome. A TBA will keep us tempted for the time being, but until then we know that Trombone Shorty will rock us with his funk brass skills. Buddy Guy and The O’Jays are a definite win as well! Surely Spirit Of Satch will be a good one as well, in honor of our beloved Louis Armstrong. Also be sure to check out George Porter Jr., Anders Osborne, Ironing Board Sam, Guitar Slim Jr., Cynthia Girtley, and Treme Brass Band.
Phew! Okay, now that all those hearty opinions are out there on the table, let’s sum it up simply for those who didn’t have the time or interest in reading it all. On the Croix scale from Bad to Bad-Ass, here’s how your friendly neighborhood festival lover rates NOLA Jazz And Heritage 2015’s lineup:
April 24: Not Bad
April 25: Sweet
April 26: Good
April 30: Cool
May 1: Sweet
May 2: Awesome
May 3: Cool
If you’re into a mix of jazz, brass, beats, funk, gospel, and blues, and know how to get weird, NOLA Jazz And Heritage may be the festival for you! Ticket options vary by day and by weekend with VIP options still available. Also, the food. You don’t understand life if you haven’t had a home style Cajun meal with beignets. If you can’t afford a ticket, just eat at a place nearby and listen to the distant trumpet screeches, soulful singing, and screaming crowds. Laced throughout an old, charming, and energetic city, this festival is definitely a cool experience.
Croix Provence, abridged: Singer. Actress. Model. Dork. Snack enthusiast. Freelance writer. Music lover. Comic Con freak. Adrenaline junkie. Short sentence sorcerer. Follow @CroixProvence on Twitter and Instagram, and like Croix Provence on Facebook.