Friday, May 04, 2012

Thursday at Jazz Fest...

Peter finally awakes, so we walk up to French Market, where Peter purchases a fashionable fanny pack for the Fest; then over to Cafe du Monde for cafe au lait and beignets.  Mark appears, so we decide to lunch on the fabulous stuffed chicken wings, along with tasty Bloody Marys, at Emeril's Nola just around the corner.  A very weary Barry drags himself in to join us sometime later.

A quick cab ride and we are at the Fair Grounds.  First up, Mia Borders is finishing up her set at Gentilly and she and her band sound great.  A good funky beginning.  Over to the Blues Tent for the Little Freddie King Blues Band.  Freddie is sounding good as ever and Gumbo's buddy is wailing on the mouth harp.  We are two for two!  But the best is yet to come - The Honey Island Swamp Band kicks our asses!  With hints of Lowell George-era Little Feat and a first rate horn section that includes Peter's friend Derek Huston on sax, this band is unbelievable.  Never heard of them, but we are mighty glad we found them.

PHS Barry, Lisa & JK outside Blues Tent
Mark/Lisa and Kenny/Kip are in the house!  Hugs all around.  Henry Butler is great a Congo Square, but we cut him short to ease over to catch Ani DiFranco at Fais Do Do.  Ani, while good, gets a bit preachy toward the end.  The Shoe Ladies are also in the house over atGentilly, waiting for Florence + the Machine.  A Quick hello, then back to Congo Square for Esperanza Spalding, a performance I am eagerly awaiting.  Problems - I wait.  What the hell is going on?  Is she going to play?  I wait some more.  I lost Peter and the Pool Hall Studs at Ani DiFranco so I text Mark.  He's back over at Florence with Marshall's Krewe, so I say the hell with Esperanza and go back through the big crowd and find Mark.  Florence is in top form.  Great show.  When she finishes we cross the race track over to the Blues Tent to meet up with Peter and Barry in time for the finish of James Cotton's Superharp Band.  James is a bit long in the tooth, but still can play!  Whew!  Very good, if unspectacular, first day.  The clear winners were Florence + the Machine and the Honey Island Swamp Band.  Esperanza was the big disappointment.

We clean up and take a cab out to The Joint for FABULOUS ribs, brisket, sausage.  Jersey Mark/Lisa show up just as The Joint was closing but they were able to talk their way into a big ol bag of take out, which we watched them eat outside.  A couple blocks down to Vaughn's, Kermit Ruffin's place, where we pay a $15 cover for one song before he takes a half-hour break.  Bad timing, indeed.  Taxi back to The Quarter and it's bed time!

Friday of the second weekend is traditionally PIANO SHIRT FRIDAY, but since Johnny Gumbo passed away, there will be a brief, tasteless gathering of his friends at Lucy's Retired Surfer's Bar instead.  Night all.

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