He and She Said:
Bart Ramsey and Zazou City in 2011
He and She Said:
As we said last year, it’s hard to go wrong musically at FQF, but sometimes the volume of acts can overwhelm and the default response is to just camp out at one of the big stages.
Don’t do that. Get out and discover something new. For 2012, here are our best bets by day. If there’s someone below you’ve not heard of, why not check them out and expand your repertoire a bit?
Thursday: The Appetizer Plate
Limited action on the 12th, with music only at Jackson Square and along the Riverfront.
11:00-12:15 Jackson Square: Preservation Hall Stars. The ensemble usually features drummer extraordinaire Shannon Powell (who does his thing at the Windsor Court these days). A perfect shot of jazz to kick of your FQF.
3:15-4:15 Louis Louis Pavillion Stage: Kipori Woods. Last year we said ‘old school in the mode of B.B King as Woods travels the blues highway from the Delta to the South side of Chicago.’ That still applies. One of the best bluesmen at FQF. Check him out:
3:45-5:00 Cajun Zydeco Showcase: Bruce Daigrepont Cajun Band. Get some use out of your two-step and maybe your Rosetta Stone French. Good stuff that’ll make you wonder where the closest boucherie is.
5:45-7:00 Riverside Legacy Stage: Rebirth Brass Band. Two very good brass bands weren’t on the bill in 2011. This is one of them. Close day 1 by doin’ whatcha wanna with the legendary band that Kermit Ruffins founded years ago.
Friday: Ramping Up the Action
FQF shifts into high gear on Friday with the Mint and several other stages joining the action.
11:00-12:15 Louis Louis Pavillion: Marc Stone. If you couldn’t get your blues fix with Kipori Woods on Thursday (or if you did and still want more), check out the versatile Stone along the Riverfront who you can also hear DJ’ing on WWOZ when he’s not killing it on the guitar.
1:15-3:00 French Market Stage: New Orleans Cottonmouth Kings. The Gypsy Jazz will be terrific, and the crazy-good swing dancer subculture that follows these guys is must-see.
2:00-3:00 Louis Louis Pavillion: Sasha Masakowski and Musical Playground. Sasha teamed with Irvin Mayfield for a great rendition of Saint James Infirmary at Jackson Square last year. This NOCCA grad and daughter of guitarist and teacher Steve Masakowski has serious chops. Check her out so you can claim you knew her when.
2:00-3:15 Jackson Square: Lionel Ferbos and the Louisiana Shakers. We’ve written about him before. Ferbos is 100 years old and, as far as we know, the oldest performing jazz musician on earth. If you love New Orleans music, Ferbos has to be on your bucket list.
4:30-5:30 Preservation Hall: Smoking Time Jazz Club. Preservation Hall can be seriously crowded, but it’s a venue you need to experience, so why not try it on Friday when the crowds might be a wee bit lighter. We’ve caught the acoustic, danceable jazz of former street buskers Smoking Time Jazz Club several times and never been disappointed.
7:45-9:00 Riverside Legacy Stage: Soul Rebels. The other act strangely not on the schedule last year. These guys blow up Le Bon Temps every Thursday night, and they are playing new material from the Unlock Your Mind release. Check out their version of The Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams and we think you’ll agree with us that you need to check them out:
Saturday: Everybody in the Pool
The full complement of stages (and crowds). Here’s what you don’t wanna miss.
11:00-12:15 Esplanade in the Shade: Kelcy Mae. Keith Spera turned us on to this songstress who sounds more than a little like Natalie Merchant when he featured her Pennies in Hand among his top local releases of 2011. We agree.
Decisions, decisions in the middle of the day. If you’re itching for some blues, head to the Decatur Stage for:
1:30-2:45 Khris Royal and Dark Matter/ 3:00-4:15 John Lisi and Delta Funk. We told you about Khris Royal last year, and John Lisi simply turned in one of the two or three best sets of the Fest in 2011.
But if Gypsy Jazz is more your thing, mosey over to the Rouses Royal Street Stage for this double bill:
1:45-3:15 Tony Green and Gypsy Jazz/ 3:30-5:00 Zazou City. Multiple guitars, no drums, and plenty of dancing shoes as the legacy of Django Reinhart takes center stage.
4:00-5:30 U.S. Mint Latin World Stage: Debauche. We discovered this self-described Russian Mafia band at the fest last year. Hard to describe, but wow. You will not be bored.
5:30-7:00 Esplanade in the Shade: Flow Tribe. These guys are just stupid good. High energy funk that grabs and doesn’t let go. So good last year we wouldn’t think of missing them this year.
7:45-9:00: Riverside Legacy Stage: Hot 8 Brass Band. The Hot 8 are the best brass band in NOLA, which pretty much makes then the best band of any kind in NOLA. If you catch only one set Saturday, this is it.
Sunday: The King Arrives
The last day to get your FQF fix and soak in as much music as you can. Monday’s gonna stink anyway, so stay to the end and catch what should be, with apologies to the Hot 8, the best set of the Fest.
12:30-1:45 Louis Louis Pavilion: Gal Holiday & the Honky Tonk Revue. Now that Gal is no longer holding down her Sunday night slot at B.M.C. ya need to catch her when you can. In a sea of blues and jazz, Vanessa Nieman’s take on old school country backed by a razor sharp band is fresh and different.
2:00-2:30 BMI Singer Songwrite Stage: David Shaw. The BMI stage is unlike any other at FQF, a shady oasis with beer, real bathrooms, and a dedication to the craft of songrwriting. Shaw is the guitarist and vocalist for the Revivalists, and you can catch him in a solo take here. And if that doesn’t work for you, make a point to catch one of the other 30 minute sets at this under the radar spot.
3:00-3:45 Monteleone Carousel Bar Stage: Helen Gillet’s Wazozo Orchestra. Stop in to check out the newly renovated and expanded Carousel Bar. More importantly, check out the remarkably talented cellist Gillet who astonished us at the Hi Ho during Foberg Fest.
3:00-4:15 400 Royal Stage: Anais St. John. Anais has recently taken her silky standards from the Polo Lounge at the Windsor Court to her new gig in the reopened Hyatt. A chanteuse with delightful phrasings, she is worth a look.
3:30-5:30 French Market Stage: Tuba Skinny. Spotted Cat regulars and sometime street buskers, Tuba Skinny favors jazz and blues from the ’20′s and ’30′s punctuated with trombone, cornet, and of course tuba. Here they are on Royal:
5:45-7:00 Abita Beer Stage: Trombone Shorty. Yes, it’ll be crazy crowded, but use our logistical guide to navigate to the big stage for the big performer. Troy Andrews released For True, the followup to the incredible Backatown last year, and he is on a roll. But you know this already, right? What a great way to close the Fest.
Ok, there’s your primer. We’ve worn out some dancing shoes and done our part to keep local watering holes in business, all in the name of research. Print out copies of the schedule here and use the guide above to circle the acts on your most wanted list.
Coming in the next few days we’ll have out guide to the food for 2012, Mardi Gras Indian style, and our revised guide to logistics. And when you’re at the Fest, look for the couple having too much fun; that’ll be us.