Saturday, May 28, 2016

May 1-3, 2016 Wandering Aimlessly in New Orleans

We slept in on Sunday mostly due to not going to bed until 4am after the Flow Tribe show at the Blue Nile last night. It started raining about the time we woke up and it never let up. We decided to have lunch at the Acme Oyster House. After lunch we found out that the City Park bus shuttle wasn't running to Jazz Fest because the grass parking lot was a swamp. It kept raining so we kicked back and relaxed at Jeff's house. We spent Monday and Tuesday walking around the wonderful city of New Orleans. Here's a few pictures of what we saw.

Sunday Lunch at the Acme Oyster House bar.
I saw an ad for this place in Gambit so we stopped here to do some shopping. They have some cool shirts with this logo. The friendly staff here offered up lots on interesting info about New Orleans.

Monday lunch at our favorite NOLA BBQ place, The Joint in Bywater.

We ate outside on the back patio.

The always friendly people of New Orleans are all too familiar with weather related emergencies. They also are willing to help others in need.

Street Art near Frenchmen Street
I love that art can be found on any wall, store front...
...or garage door in this colorful city.

An afternoon stop at The Spotted Cat for drinks and music.

Christy outside Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar enjoying a Voodoo daiquiri and waiting for her friend Deb Cano to join us.

After spending an entertaining afternoon drinking at Lafitte's with Deb and her friends. We got a chance to check out their hotel. This is the courtyard at the Andrew Jackson Hotel.

I loved getting to see a courtyard in the French Quarter.

Fried Okra and crabcakes at Bamboula's...

...and The Swinging Gypsies providing the music.

Chrissy's favorite place on Earth

Where Y'At is one of the many great free magazines that cover New Orleans and it's extensive food and music scenes.

We joined Christy's friend Deb and her group for a tasty homestyle dinner at Mother's in the CBD (Central Business District).

My friend Marko Nisevich recommended The Kitchen Table. His friends Donna Cavato and Kevin Hackett recently opened this place in Arabi. Now Christy and I recommend this place.
Screwing around at Dr. Bob's Art shop.

Hey Christy, why do you want me to pose here?

More Street Art near Frenchmen Street

This city loves their musicians so much they add them to any piece of artwork.

This truck was donated to New Orleans by the State of Illinois after Hurricane Katrina. 

Artwork can be found all over this city

Another great place to see live music

New Orleans has such a unique look and is so colorful...

...I could walk around and take pictures for days here.

Incredible doors and doorways everywhere in this city.

Back at Lafitte's for a farewell daiquiri...

...I just love this city and this purple daiquiri. 

Another courtyard we got to see because of a special event going on today.

A fountain near the French Market

There is always some kind of festival happening here. This city knows how to celebrate life...

...and music. I try to support music either way, live or recorded.

I may not be from here but I hope to have that NOLA  "laissez les bons temps rouler" spirit til I die.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

April 30, 2016 The Highs & Lows of Live Music in New Orleans

We started our Saturday at Jazz Fest with a Cochon de Lait po-boy and boiled crawfish. We might be tourists but we quickly learned how to look like we belong here. There are so many bands I want to see today that we will have to miss some of them or run from stage to stage. But we definitely we be watching Stevie Wonder to end the day...even though I would love to see Beck or Buddy Guy or Nathan & the Zydeco Cha-Chas but they are all playing at the same time. So is Snoop Dogg but he was such a disappointment at Riot Fest last year that I already decided not to choose him today. We are definitely starting our day with the very talented Paul Sanchez.

I saw Paul Sanchez a couple of years ago at French Quarter Fest. I became a fan of his music during the first song I heard him perform. Here he is with a bunch of talented friends as Paul Sanchez & The Rolling Road Show.

Paul is a fantastic songwriter with a great way of telling stories with his music...

...and like most New Orleans musicians, he knows how to put on a show.

The band is full of talented solo artists that all had a chance to play one of their songs during this set. I loved this collaboration of music because everyone was so damn good at their craft. Shamarr Allen's song "Love Is Blind" was one of many highlights of this show.

This version is from the 2014 Jazz Fest.

Shows like this are why I love seeing live music. There was a wide variety of song styles amongst the different songwriters and this band played them all perfectly.

A good time was had on stage and in the audience.

A picture of Sunday headliner Trombone Shorty seen while walking over to the Blues Tent.

We caught a few songs by the Lil' Buck Sinegal Blues Band in the Blues Tent.

Here he is playing at the Louisiana Music Factory record store on Frenchmen Street.

Daiquiris always put a smile on your face... does a good brass band like...

...The Soul Rebels.

The Soul rebels rocking at the Blue Nile.

After The Soul Rebels we headed over to the Fais Do-Do Stage to catch New Orleans own  Kristin Diable. All you need to know is this lady can write great songs and she can sing with all the heart & soul her songs deserve.

I first saw her at Jazz Fest a few years ago and I was impressed. Then I saw her last year at Thalia Hall as the opening act for St. Paul & The Broken Bones and I was blown away. She was great again today.
We stopped at the Economy Tent to catch a couple of songs by The Treme Brass Band on our way to the the Lagniappe Stage to see Luke Winslow King...

...and get a cold beer and a dozen freshly shucked oysters with amazingly hot horseradish that lit me up like Richie Finestra snorting coke on the HBO show Vinyl. Then we headed toward the Acura Stage to catch the end of Jon Batiste & The Stay Human Band. It had been raining lightly but it started coming down hard enough to break out the ponchos. So I had to put my camera away.

Here's Jon Batiste and Stay Human doing what they do.

The rain began to fall steady while we watched Big Chief Bo Dollis Jr. & The Wild Magnolias throw a party at the Jazz & Heritage Stage. The harder it rained, the wilder the band played.

As soon as The Wild Magnolias left the stage the steady downpour became a deluge. The wind picked up and the rain came down so hard that I heard someone say afterwards that it was raining frogs. We tried to get into the race track grandstand but we were too late to that party. We ended up riding the storm out in a makeshift shack on the racetrack used as a cooking area called The Cajun Cabin. We still got soaked but at least it had a tin roof which probably made the rain sound worse that it already seemed. The racetrack absorbed most of the two hour rainfall so at first it didn't seem too bad to us. Then we headed toward the infield to grab some dinner before heading over to see Stevie Wonder.

There was standing water in several areas we walked through but as we got closer to the food stands in the center of the infield it just kept getting deeper and deeper.

We tried to buy some jambalaya but they wouldn't take the money. they said "Just take it. We have to get rid of two pots because they cancelled the rest rest of the festival for today. There was not official announcement of the cancellation at the fairgrounds or on their Facebook page.

The rain stopped for about 20 minutes. Then it started up again. I ended up walking around to the Acura Stage where Stevie Wonder was suppose to play. Everything on the stage was covered in tarps, the giant video screens were lowered and there wasn't anyone on the stage or in the sound booth. I ran into someone who said he had not heard the festival was cancelled. He said he knew someone that worked here and walked over to a food booth. He came back to me and with a heavy British accent said, "It's true. I can't fooking believe they cancelled Stevie Wonder."

As we headed toward the exit, the rain started coming down a bit heavier. So no more pictures. We got stuck on the lines for the buses. We parked in the City Park lot which very few people use that lot. But we couldn't get to our bus because so many people were waiting for the bus that goes downtown. It rained the whole time we waited in line. It was miserable except for one thing. I struck up a conversation with an older couple from New Orleans. The wife told me she stayed dry in the Gospel Tent all day long. But she wanted to see Stevie Wonder long enough to take his picture then go back to the Gospel Tent. As Jeff & Christy moved ahead of us,I stayed back talking about New Orleans, music and places to eat in NOLA. When we finally got to the bus, I told them to go ahead of me since I had a poncho and they were soaked. When they realized I was held back for the next bus, they turned around and told me to go with my wife and brother. I said no but they insisted because there was a tent covering them while they waited for the next bus. As I thanked them and said goodbye, the wife said to me, "That's Louisiana hospitality sweetie". I told her I know all about that and that's why I love this place so much. I gave her a hug and got on the bus....drenched but damn glad I had a chance to spend time with that older couple. I quickly realized how lucky I was to be on this particular bus full of soaking wet people who just missed seeing their headlining act of choice. The bus driver was playing music pretty loud when I got on the bus. There was a young lady sitting a few rows ahead of me who started singing along to the song. When it was over a few people applauded. She started singing the next song and asked people to join in, then demanded everyone to join in. The whole bus sang along and there was raucous applause afterwards. She then stood up and said, "I paid my $15 for this bus ride. I'm going to get my money's worth". By the time we got back to the parking lot in City Park, there was an all out party happening on that bus. Some people were telling the driver to circle the park one more time so we could continue singing along to the music. Louisiana hospitality and New Orleanians love of a good time provided sunshine on a cloudy day. The grass area used as the parking lot was a disaster. We helped push a truck stuck in the mud out but couldn't free a small car that was stuck. My brother Jeff drove our car through the mud and even though he had to stop for pedestrians, he made it onto the street.
So that brings us to Flow Tribe. We had already bought tickets for their late show at the Blue Nile's Balcony Room tonight. Christy & I both love this band from New Orleans. We first saw them at Jazz Fest in 2013 and thought they were fantastic. Then we saw them in 2014 at the French Quarter Festival and were just blown away with the mix of musical styles, the energy and entertainment of their show and their love for New Orleans. They were playing on a stage right on the Mississippi River...

...and this cover version of Proud Mary was so damn good that everyone was dancing...except for the security guard in front of us.

Then they brought out the Central City Dance Team for their song 'Walk Like An Animal". Those kids were having so much fun. I thought it was very cool of the band to invite them onstage to dance with them. It really is impossible to not dance or sing along with Flow Tribe. Their shows are everything that live music should be. So that's how we became fans of Flow Tribe. So tonight we are finally going to see them in a small club on Frenchmen Street. We arrived at the Blue Nile at 10 pm for a 10:30 pm show. I won't lie, I was hoping they were the opening act. They were the headliner. We were sitting outside on the second floor balcony overlooking the mayhem of Frenchmen Street during Jazz Fest. We went inside hoping the Jamie McLean Band would keep us awake long enough to see Flow Tribe. The did and were very good. I really enjoyed their set. Then Flow Tribe hit the stage and played from about midnight until 2:30am. Honestly, I never felt tired while they were playing. So much funk and energy in that small room kept me dancing and singing all night long. 

Here's one of their videos.

I had to add this one, "Hungry For You" from Tipitina's.

I walked down Frenchmen Street at a quarter to three in the morning so damn glad we got to see Flow Tribe. If you love seeing music played by talented musicians that know how to put on a show, I must insist you see this band. They are having so much fun, you can't keep yourself from doing the same. Check this band out at and always support live music. We got back to our car with 5 minutes left on the meter. We were still flying high from the show so I double parked across the street from Cafe Du Monde and picked up some beignets for the ride back to my brother's house. Damn are those things fried dough covered in way too much powered sugar that just melts in your mouth. 
So they next day we get into our rental car and it looks like the entire console between the seats is covered in cocaine. Chrissy is yelling at me. So what? I was up until 4am. I am exhausted and do not care what the car looks like. So I lick my finger scooped some up white powder and rub it on my gums. Just what I needed to start my day.