Words by: Tom Speed | Images by: Dino Perrucci & Chad Smith
Jazz Fest – Weekend 2 – Day 3 :: 05.01.10 :: Saturday :: New Orleans, LA
Massive crowds swarmed the Fairgrounds Racetrack on Saturday as blustery weather whipped the track and infield into dust gusts. It didn't deter the sea of people who lined up across the track at the Acura Stage to hear Pearl Jam and filled the Gentilly Stage area for Band of Horses and Jeff Beck. The smaller stages, too, enjoyed swelling crowds. Lots of people, lots of music, lots of food and lots of drinks. And the highlights were:
Tom's Top Three Aural
#1 Anders Osborne (Acura Stage)
Backed by the Stanton Moore Trio (Stanton Moore on drums, Robert Walter on keyboards and Will Bernard on guitar), Anders Osborne and his prodigious beard delivered a blistering set on the main, Acura Stage Saturday afternoon, leaning heavily on his new album, American Patchwork (released 4/27/10 on Alligator Records), which features the same backing band. The set kicked off the same way as the record with shredding power rocker "Road To Charlie Parker." It's a meditation that includes the memorable lines, "You're like a diamond that doesn't shine, a Rolex that won't tell time."
It's no secret that Osborne has dealt with demons in the past, and he thanked his backing band from the stage for helping him to "get my shit together." He got it together all right. Front to back, their performance was a tour de force that included saxophonist Skerik on the reggae bounce of "I've Got Your Heart" and similarly bearded guitarist Pepper Keenan (who co-produced American Patchwork) for a string of heavy rockers. Osborne quipped that the pair had a ZZ Top cover band on the side.
Osborne has been a guitar slinger, a pensive songwriter, a genre-bender, a bluesman and more. While this current outing incorporates many of those elements, he's surfaced as a rocker and is sounding as good as ever.
#2 Honey Island Swamp Band (Fais Do Do Stage)
The Honey Island Swamp is a real place. It resides near the border of Louisiana and Mississippi. It's therefore a fitting name for this band that draws inspiration from the music of those two states. With the Honey Island Swamp Band, soul, country, R&B and blues are all on equal footing. The two man songwriting/guitarist team of Chris Mulé and Aaron Wilkinson produce expressive, hook-laden tunes that honor songcraft while respecting the groove. For their Jazz Fest set at the Fais Do Do Stage, the four-piece was bolstered by a three-piece horn section, keyboards, and backing vocalists. The rousing set included material from their debut Wishing Well and forthcoming follow-up Good To You.
#3 Pinstripe Brass Band (Parade)
If you've ever experienced the magnetic pull that causes you to involuntarily become part of a parade regardless of where you were going before the parade reached you, then you know how much fun this was.
Tom's Top Three Gustatory
#1 St. Charles Street Car Cocktail
This eye-opener at Restaurant Lüke features St. Germain elderflower liqueur, peach vodka and champagne. Delicious.
#2 Mango Freeze
This sorbet-type treat is wonderful in its own right, but even better with some smuggled rum.
#3 Canned Coors
Because, if for no other reason, the chorus of "East Bound and Down" from Smokey and the Bandit pops to mind whenever you pop the top.
Tom's Top Three Lagniappe
#1 Best Festival Flag: "Super Bowl Champions"
Numerous sightings. Who Dat!?
#2 Anders Osborne's beard
It deserves its own zip code. Would also be a pretty good name for a rock band.
#3 Folk Life Village
Blacksmiths and pirogues and hand drums, oh my!
Check our Jazz Fest Survival Guide for Must See Bands, food suggestions and
Check out Second Weekend Thursday coverage of Jazz Fest here.
Check out Second Weekend Friday coverage of Jazz Fest here.
Check out First Weekend Friday coverage of Jazz Fest here.
Check out First Weekend Saturday coverage of Jazz Fest here.
Check out First Weekend Sunday coverage of Jazz Fest here.
Check back tomorrow for more coverage of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival...
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