Mavis Staples, joined by Glen Hansard, delivered one of the most powerful moments of Jazz Fest with a cover of “The Weight.”
Fender’s Must-Sees At Jazz Fest
By Mike Duffy
Fender.com served up a heavy dose of performance recaps from this past weekend at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, but now that it’s in the books, here are a few more odds & ends ….
Top 10 Band Names That Challenge Twitter*:
10) Dr. Michael White and the Original Liberty Jazz Band
9) George French and the New Orleans Storyville Jazz Band
8) Big Sam’s Funky Nation
7) Jewel Brown and the Heritage Hall Jazz Band
6) James Andrews and the Crescent City All Stars
5) Big Chief Monk and the Golden Eagles Mardi Gras Indians
4) Kermit Ruffins and the Barbeque Swingers
3) Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
2) Aaron Neville’s Gospel Experience
1) Silky Sol – The Red Afro Queen
*names that put you perilously close to 140 characters
Top Five Covers
5) Dave Grohl’s Foo Fighters gave their capacity crowd a mellow feel with their sultry cover of Tom Petty’s “Breakdown” just a few songs before they wrapped up a two-hour show at the Acura Stage.
4) Grace Potter and the Nocturnals honored Adam “MCA” Yauch of the Beastie Boys, who lost a battle with cancer on Friday, by imploring the crowd to sing “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” and “You Gotta” Fight For Your Right (To Party).”
3) New Orleans piano legend Henry Butler and his incredibly tight band closed out their set at the Congo Square Stage with a fiery version of Billy Preston’s “Will It Go Round In Circles” that had the crowd jamming along with his amazing work on the ivories.
2) The Zac Brown Band had a few covers that drew raucous applause, such as a sweet version of Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic,” a searing “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” from Charlie Daniels, and Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name Of.”
1) Mavis Staples and Hansard collaborated in the Gospel Tent on a tribute to The Band’s late drummer and vocalist Levon Helm, turning in a stellar performance of “The Weight.” It was so poignant that Staples choked up a little bit on stage.
Best Trifecta Cover
An excellent example of the diversity of Jazz Fest occurred on Sunday afternoon around 2 p.m. in making the festival rounds. Within 100 yards of each other sat the Jazz & Heritage Stage, Congo Stage and Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage.
In passing the first, the TBC Brass Band was belting out a cover of Bell Biv DeVoe’s “Poison.” A few steps later, ELS captured passers-by with a cover of “Proud Mary,” complete with appropriate Tina Turner wardrobe and dance moves. Lastly, Keith Frank and the Solleau Zydeco Band blasted out a sing-along cover of The Jeffersons theme song, “Movin’ On Up.”
Top Five Food Choices:
5) Alligator: Mike “The Fireman” Growland’s alligator sauce picante seemed to be a big hit amongst festival-goers, while longtime vendor Betty Douglas was dishing out alligator pie. For those that just think ‘gator takes like chicken, they might have a different idea after tasting these dishes.
4) Café Au Lait: The iced coffee with milk was a treat to cut through the hot, hot, hot temperatures that descended on the Big Easy. Café Du Monde near the Blues Tent had the best on the grounds and was a must every day. Throw in a basket of heavenly beignets and call it the breakfast of champions.
3) Cuban Sandwich: There was only one spot serving the classic Cuban, smack-dab in the middle of the Fairgrounds, and man, were they delicious. The buttery bread, ham and pork went great with the cheese and pickles. With some mustard and a lot of hot sauce added, it was a winner.
2) Crawfish: Pick a spot. There was crawfish etoufee, boiled crawfish, crawfist bread, a po-boy, shrimp and tails, crawfish beginets, crawfish monica… the list went on with these critters.
1) Gumbo: Seafood, rice and whether you wanted file, roux or okra to thicken your gumbo, there were plenty of spots to grab it within the racetrack. True N’Awlins eating with a Styrofoam cup and plastic spoon.
5) Better Than Ezra bassist Tom Drummond paid homage to the band’s home base with a cutout of the New Orleans Saints logo (a fleur-de-lis) in the black pickguard of his gold bass during their show Saturday on the Gentilly Stage.
4) Hansard’s Takamine is so well-worn that it even has holes in it where a pickguard would typically go. He’s been playing it for over 20 years, and the instrument is so trusty that he has nicknamed it “The Horse.”
3) During Foo Fighters’ amazing set on Sunday, lead guitarist Chris Shiflett rocked a one-of-a-kind Fender Telecaster Deluxe with a white stain.
2) It’s no secret that Grace Potter and the Nocturnals can shred. And when the band does shred, someone is getting amazing sound out a beat up Fender amp. Vintage with a capital “V.”
1) The vintage Fender Starcaster that MyNameisJohnMichael leader John Michael Rouchell was rocking Saturday at the Gentilly Stage was definitely an eye-catcher. The semi-hollowbody guitar was front and center for the band’s entire set.
The massive grandstand was a welcomed break from the heat.
There was an oyster bar that seemed to be jumping, there was air conditioning, and perhaps most-importantly, there were special exhibits that showcased the heritage part of the festival. Not only on the first floor, there were four other stages – the Food Heritage Stage, the Cajun Cabin, the Allison Miner Music Heritage Stage and the Lagniappe Stage.
If you brought children, the Kids Tent was the place to go. There were arts, crafts and snowballs, not to mention a ton of child-friendly music.
On Friday, there were four elementary school bands playing in the Young Audiences of Louisiana Brass Band Throwdown. Another highlight was teen blues guitar prodigy and Louisiana native Matthew Davidson closing down the tent on Saturday, playing while the Eagles headlined the Acura Stage across the fairgrounds.