Hello, friends! Rob here.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, if your sunburns, blown-out voices, and full dance cards haven’t told you already, then allow me:
The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage festival is upon us, and we’re in the eye of the storm.
For our part, The Revivalists have had quite a week in and out of town. Leading up to our morning set at the ‘Fest itself, we had three days on the road opening for JJ Grey & Mofro. I may be a bit biased, but for me the highlight of that run was getting to grace the stage of the legendary Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa. For the record, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of ballroom dancing going on at “The Cain’s” anymore, but thousands of storied bands and performers have graced its stage over nearly a century of live music, and as a native Tulsan I am thrilled to be able to count myself among them.
Okay enough of that. JJ Grey & Mofro are an amazing band. Front to back, everything about them is just so good. They couldn’t have been nicer, either. They were an absolute pleasure to work with and learn from.
Man, Jazzfest is cool. Friday went very well. The weather cooperated, my parents didn’t get stuck in France because of some goshdamned volcano (oddly enough, I was also writing about JJ Grey & Mofro at about this time two years ago), and we had a nice little bit of press from the Times-Picayune’s own Keith Spera, which thankfully saves me the trouble of writing a blow-by-blow of the set (he even wrote went out of his way to mention Dave’s shirtlessness). That night, we brought our four-day run with JJ to a close at Tipitina’s and then stuck around for Galactic’s late show. Galactic, for the record, is also a fantastic band made up of nice dudes. That ended up being a pretty late night.
Saturday, we had a fraternity party in Baton Rouge. If you think leaving New Orleans during a Jazz Fest weekend sounds crazy, well, maybe you’re right, but this party was at least ten times crazier. Also, our set was early enough that we were able to get back by 11:00 or so and catch some shows, unless you are me, in which case you just went out and caught up with friends you hadn’t seen in a while because you have been driving a van all over the country and tooting sax notes at people. That ended up being a pretty late night.
Sunday, we played a crawfish boil in the Marigny. After such an intense week, it was nice to loosen up and play a more relaxed set among a bunch of very good-natured people. We had a nice little jam with one of the guests, a fellow saxophonist named Damon Garcia who plays in a funky Austin-based outfit (we actually met briefly over South by Southwest) called Uncle Bruno. Additionally, the party was kind-of-sort-of a young lad’s fifth birthday party (though I suspect it was at least as much a party for the grown-ups), and it turns out his mother was a pretty famous Brazilian pop star (I tried to find her on the internet, but with nothing but a first name that was pronounced “Lee-Zah” to go on, I failed), and so when we took a set break she sang “Happy Birthday” in Portuguese and English before bringing the house down with a surprising rendition of Four Non-Blondes’ “What’s Going On.” After we recovered, we went back to playing. The whole affair was done by a little after sundown. That ended up being a pretty early night. Despite having a friend in town who was staying at my house, all I had it in me to do was to come home, say hello, walk upstairs, and promptly fall asleep halfway off my bed with the lights on and the door open.
All in all, a pretty successful weekend.
But Jazzfest is far from over. This entry isn’t even over. Yesterday, we had an in-store performance at Louisiana Music Factory down in the French Quarter. It was about as packed as a record store can get, and as sweaty as any gig we’ve played in the last year or so. We were asked to start a little early when Rebirth Brass Band, who had been scheduled for the hour before us, had to cancel because the Frazier brothers had a family emergency. Keith and Phil are friends of ours, so if you pray, please keep them in your prayers, and if you think, please keep them in your thoughts, and if you do both, then that’ll be twice the good.
So that’s been just about a week for us. Friday, we’re playing the social event of the year, but I think it’s a bit too under-the-radar for me to be volunteering a lot of details here. Saturday, we’ve got a late-night show at Tipitina’s in the French Quarter, and then our world becomes all about Gulf Shores.
(232 days left)