Top Five “Unique NOLA Acts” to Catch at Jazzfest
Saturday, April 28, 2018
Tin Men @Blues Tent, 11:15-Noon
Alex McMurray, Washboard Chaz and Matt Perrine – it’s the “New New Orleans” turned “old school” right in front of our eyes. Blues tent? Okay. I mean why not. When you have three of the very best musical talents in New Orleans – that’s’ McMurray, Chaz & Perrine – you plug them in where ever you can find a place because how do you define brilliance? I guess you throw a dart and land where it will. The Tin Men are worthy of any stage at Jazzfest. There is really no need to define them. Why try? You just sit back and listen. The vocals. The smooth cadence of the washboard keeping time along with the baseline of Perrine and viola. It’s really the most thoughtful and amazing trio playing anywhere in the world. Yep. I said it. And, they call New Orleans home. Proudly, I’m sure.
Leo Jackson & the Melody Clouds @Gospel Tent, 1:55-2:40
Since 1989, The Melody Clouds have performed at Jazzfest led by writer and arranger Leo Jackson. And, I’m here to inform you this is New Orleans gospel. The Melody Clouds are full on and both contemporary and traditional in a polished Sunday morning, dressed in your best delivery. Some gospel aficionados say the Melody Clouds are pure Mississippi gospel crafted with a rural Christian sensibility that runs deep in Jackson’s veins as he channels his mother and father,Maybell and Leo, as a second generation gospel performer. The band is full of family; Carey Jackson Jr.,Melvin Jackson, Ronald Scott, Chris Barnes, Wydell Spotville and Ben Bester. The Melody Clouds will get you on your feet and If you only grace the Gospel Tent once, go for this set. Your “burdens will be eased” . . . it’s The Melody Cloud’s mission according to Scott. And, one of the best in the Fest.
Big Freedia @Congo Square Stage, 2:10-3:15
She’ll Twerk. It’s a given. But here’s what else Big Freedia will do, pure and simple. Entertain. Now go with me on this one. I liken Big Freedia to Liberace. No groans please. It’s a compliment. And, once more, a big one. Style. Presence. A niche. And, a niche she does very, very well. Seems now everybody wants a piece of it. There is nothing. NOTHING like Big Freedia. NOLA bounce is born of New Orleans, Nurtured and made real in New Orleans. Bounce is street and street culture. It’s the language and the beat of life. It’s repetitive call and repeat is pure New Orleans. And, no one brings the whole package like Big Freedia. Ask Mannie Fresh, Drake, RuPaul and more. Add the fact that Beyonce calls on Freedia to call her “Formation” shows to order – that’s Diva to New Orleans’s own Diva for sure. And, mic drops.
New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars with Steven Bernstein @ Lagniappe Stage, 4:20-5:15pm
It’s been described as Eastern European Jewish folk music with jazz and Dixieland influences. And, it’s fun. And, you’ll dance your ass off. And, you’ll want more. It’s better than a bar mitzvah. It’s pure mitzvah. The Klezmer All Stars have been around since 1996. And, they just get better and better. Led by Glenn Hartman’s frenetic accordion and Galactic’s own Ben Ellman navigating the saxophone and you’ve got the heart of the band. Klezmer alumni Jonathan Frellich is the soul of the band and they bring along the right people along with an ever rotating line up of who’s who. Steven Bernstein is bringing his trumpet and joining along and whomever else manages to climb aboard the caravan. If you’re not a convert at the beginning of the set “Oy Vey” you will be by the end. “Mit eyn tokhes ken men nit tantsn af tsvey khasenes.” (You can’t dance at two weddings with one behind.) So be there at 4:20. I’m telling you. It will be good for you. Ask your mother.
Shop New Orleans with Nola's Top Crafts People at Jazzfest
Shopping at The Fairgrounds... Shopping is just as much a part of Jazzfest as the music and the food. A little something from the artists can be a reminder of the fun and excitement. Some people visit the same vendors year after year to add to their collection. We’ve compiled our favorite locals who were juried into the Contemporary Craft Tents this year. Stop by and let them know Pop City sent you.
Brandi Couvillion @ Tent F, Etched Metal Art JewelryI
It’s Brandi’s bracelets. She translates history into metal objects that adorn in a subtle manner. And, speak volumes at the same time. Wrap yourself in a Couvillion piece and you are expressing your love of New Orleans and the entire history of the city, both specific and neighborhoods. And, neighborhood pride is very real in NOLA. Couvillion embraces the historic past through her translation of paper maps and ephemera into metal jewelry in the most creative and brilliant manner. The detail and definition makes these works both art pieces and wearable statements. Be it a maps etched into bracelets and cuffs or the architectural details in the necklaces. All I can say is how does she do it? Very well is the answer.
Pick: St. Claude Etched Cuff or the New Orleans Cuff – It’s a difficult choice.
Kabuki Design Studio – Tracy Thomson – Tent F
Hand blocked sewn hats. Tracy Thomson is the grand dame of millenary in New Orleans. Her hats are collectible, wearable pieces of unique art inspired by Tracy’s never ending quest to hone and grow in her craft. It’s her 24 year at Jazzfest and if you are looking for a wearable, New Orleans made gift or something to remember the “fest” by visit Tracy. It’s a bonus if she is sewing and going in her booth. Rumor has it that she might not set her machine up but I sure do hope so. I follow her on Instagram and Facebook and some of the hand-painted hats she is making this year are stunning.
Note: Pop City carries Tracy’s hand sewn pot holders – a throwback from her signature “water meter” beret. They are awesome.
Pick: One of her travel hats. Packable. It’s an essential.Cecelia & Jose Fernandes – Tent G
Limited Edition Photography
The Fernandes’ aesthetic is simply stunning. Either solo expressions of their singular photographic style or the collaboration of a tight knit team, the photography draws you into the frame as an observer in real time. Many images feel that you might be peeking into a forbidden moment as a voyeur of culture only to be left on the outside to ponder. Their subject matter is raw and exposed. Vibrant and daring. Not to be missed as they are fantastic to discuss their love of their art willingly.
Pick: GNO Blur and any of their works depicting social aid and pleasure clubs.
Rachaela DiRosaria – Tent I, Two Dimensional Dioramas & Figures
This lady is a powerhouse within her genre. It’s the reinvention of sideshow and side hustle. It’s people with a theme as story. Maybe they are you as you ponder their infirmary or their gravity or message. A Tooth. A strongman. A lady with a surprise. The whimsy is undeniable. The subjects seem real yet DiRosaria twists the fable of personas or icons to something precious and desirable. The color and technique in translation is precision. DiRoasaria seems to be one of her characters come to life. And, it makes her work all the more authentic and desirable.
Pick: A small diorama of a tooth or heart. Really anything and everything please.
Gogo Borgerding, Anodized Aluminum Jewelry @ Tent K
Gogo’s jewelry is like candy. I’ll bet her favorite is a bag of jolly ranchers. If I’m right great. It makes all the more sense that her pieces industrial in look and construction make a difference because of the color. Yeah, man, the colors. Orange. Green. Blues. 21 colors in all. The palate can be sandwiched between precisely cut aluminum. Cut by hand folks. Couple that with the style. The skill. And, of course, the imagination. All the styles flow and make sense. Rings, Bracelets. Necklaces. It’s for men. It’s for women. . It’s the hip New Orleans jewelry capturing the fun and whimsy of the City.
Pick: Forget the fresh flowers, a corsage cuff please.Congo Square Pick – Ndeye Gueye’s handmade zipper and fabric jewelry – by far unique and creative.
Louisiana Marketplace – Everything!!! Seriously, stop by and see all of the Louisiana talent. Of course the Historic New Orleans Collection’s reproductions of Michael P Smith’s Jazzfest archives is worth a look see.
Sail Into Rod Stewart’s 2018 Jazzfest Set List – Yep “Sailing” is his encore.
So Rod’s our cover boy. Yeah, he’s sexy and he’ll sing about it too. But this is what I do know, Rod is the king of the 80’s and the king of covers. Covers to the point that well he owns them in a bigger way that the original songsters. So get ready for a set full of Rod’s favorite hit cover tunes, relieve the 80’s (and for that matter the 70’s, too) and bring it to the party. ‘Cause he’s having one at the Fairgrounds and you won’t even miss Aretha. (Note: This is a spoiler if you like the suspense of not knowing what Rod will sing next. But, if you are trying to catch the headliner and another act, maybe this will help you time things out Saturday night. And, this list is his “usual” list for 2018 sets so far. He may move it around and even add a few surprises.)Soul Finger (a cover by The Bar-Kays)
Having a Party (another cover made famous by Sam Cooke)
Some Guys Have All the Luck (The Persuaders)
Tonight’s the Night
Rhythm of My Heart (Marc Jordan)
Downtown Train (Tom Waits)
The First Cut in the Deepest (Cat Stevens & covered by Emmy Lou and Graham Parsons)
Rollin’ and Tumblin’ (Hambone Willie Newbern)
You're in My Heart
People Get Ready (The Impressions)
Have I Told You Lately (Van Morrison)
Proud Mary (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
Stay With Me (Faces)
Do Ya Think I’m Sexy
Encore – Sailing (Sutherland Brothers)
STAY TUNED FOR DAY 3!....