Saturday night in New Orleans, Fender and FILTER Magazine teamed up for an epic and eclectic party in the French Quarter, taking over One Eyes Jack’s into the wee hours of the morning.
For those in town for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival – as well as those who weren’t – the “All Night Mojo” party drew a capacity crowd for most of the night, as the promise to see indie rock god Thurston Moore and psychedelic rock pioneer Roky Erickson was too tempting.
Beginning around 9 p.m., the Chicago-based Krank Daddies wasted no time getting the party started.
Walking out on stage, there was not much of a hello, just HiTops Farrelli’s massive white upright bass and Chops McClintock guitar immediately kicking in with the Daddies’ ripping brand of rock.
The Krank Daddies definitely left it all on the stage.
Then there was Oberhofer, the lo-fi New York outfit led by Brad Oberhofer.
With his floppy hair and day-glo button down, Oberhofer rolled through tracks from the band’s debut album, Time Capsules II, which was produced by the stalwart Steve Lillywhite.
The album is an ode to heartbreak, and the emotion shows during the live show, as the frontman pounced all over the stage with his trademark herky-jerky moves, jumping on and off the drum kit three times during the set.
Whistled intros and plinks of a xylophone mark a sweetness to the songs, while abrupt time changes paint a picture of angst and confusion.
Still, the music is supremely catchy, with highlights including “Landline,” “Away From U” and “I Could Go.”
It was clear, too, that Oberhofer was excited to lead into the act that followed, the legendary Erickson.
The Texas singer/songwriter tore through a set that had metal horns raised from the raucous crowd, hungry to see him.
Erickson played a few tracks off 2010′s album, True Love Cast Out All Evil, including a fiery “John Lawman.”
But Erickson seethed and scorched the stage with some of his classics, as well. “Stand for the Fire Demon” and “Don’t Slander Me” were examples of Erickson’s sharp-as-a-dagger vocals and emphatic guitar riffs.
Moore was the next act, to the delight of those still going strong around 1 a.m.
Carrying his signature green Fender Jazzmaster and a stack of papers, Moore took the stage with a wry grin. The audience anticipated something special, and it got just that.
Moore opened with “Pretty Bad,” playing a few verses before tearing into his guitar with savage brutality. The strings had no chance as he worked his way aggressively up and down the fretboard, breaking two on the very first song.
One almost felt bad for the whammy bar, as Moore’s abuse threatened to snap it right off the axe.
“They haven’t invented the unbreakable yet,” he quipped as another Jazzmaster was brought out while the original was restrung.
There was a light-hearted back-and-forth between Moore and the audience. Moore teased a few bars of the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” when he was given the standard tuned guitar.
Once he got his restrung instrument back in his hands – and after a little tinkering with the tuning himself – Moore rolled out a few more solo gems, including “Cindy (Rotten Tanx)” and “Psychic Hearts,” throwing in some more distortion in for good measure.
Fans definitely wanted to stick around for the last act on the Mojo bill, New Orleans’ own Morning 40 Federation, and not just because Fender gave away free guitars to three lucky fans in between the final two sets.
The Federations’ horns and bouncy bayou rock made it truly seem like a Big Easy event
Frontman Josh Cohen implored the audience to party with his booze-centric lyrics, and that was probably appropriate for this time of night.
Once the Mojo party was over, Bourbon St. was still bouncing until the sun came up.