New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Blog

Saturday, April 28

By Alicia

Amazones : Women Drummers of Guinea
» Click HERE to view image interactively - Amazones : Women Drummers Of Guinea 

Today’s theme:  If you want my body and you think I’m sexy, come on honey let me know.  And I got that straight from the horse’s mouth -- Rod Stewart.  Rod the Bod was the closing act on Acura Saturday and he wowed the crowd with his hip-shaking prancing, supernatural shaggy hair, and well-defined package, which appeared to have been artificially enhanced by a device you might see Austin Powers use.

Rod sang some of his old Faces tunes, coaxed the crowd (well, it didn’t take much) into singing along to some stuff from the 60s and 70s (don’t ask me to remember them), the bawdy Hot Legs, and Maggie May, which appeared to be the show closer.  Then he had to go ruin it all by doing “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” as the encore. 

It is appropriate for Jazzfest, though.  As the sun blazed through the pristine cloudless day, layers and inhibitions were shed.  Of course, that probably had nothing to do with the Southern Comfort strawberry-lime dacquiri slushees, the buckets of beer, and metric tons of marijuana, ecstasy and mushrooms ingested by the festival go-ers.

In the shadow of greats
» Click HERE to view image interactively - Chiling In The Shadow Of Greats

But I get ahead of myself.  Our morning started off in the press tent where we listened to Jazzfest producer Quint Davis…OH SHIT!  I was just rudely interrupted by what they call a “Palmetto Bug” (that’s a giant winged cockroach to us northerners) which flew in my door and decided to sit on my bed next to me and watch while I typed.  K insisted that it was tame and as she tried to put a leash on the thing it scuttled away.  It is now lurking under my bed. Undoubtedly it will emerge at 4 a.m.  K has now been offered my bed for tonight.

Anyway, Quint Davis proudly announced this morning that Shell Oil has offered to subsidize the festival until 2010, which means that Rod Stewart will probably be only one of many cheesy big-name pop acts in the years to come.

The highlights today, in a day of very very good music:
Jon Cleary, the Burnside Exploration, the Bobby Charles Tribute, Calexico, and Pharoah Sanders.

First Jon Cleary – currently on tour with Bonnie Raitt, playing keyboards, Jon came to New Orleans from  the U.K. about 30 years ago or so and learned at the hands of the masters, including James Booker.  This man knows how to funk it up – check out his version of All Right Now, the song made famous by Free (come on, you couldn’t escape it in 1970 or a few years after that). 

The Burnside Exploration consists of a son and grandson of R.L. Burnside, a Mississippi musician who made rotgut blues, the kind that just eats you alive. They ROCKED the Blues Tent.  If you like R.L. or the Black Keys, you’d probably like this group.  Check them out on MySpace

The Burnside Exploration
» Click HERE to view image interactively - The Burnside Exploration

Bobby Charles was highly anticipated – he was supposed to have played the festival in 2002, but was a no-show.  A Louisiana native, Charles wrote hits like See You Later Alligator, Walking to New Orleans, and The Jealous Kind (recorded by Jock Cocker, Ray Charles, Etta James, Johnny Adams and Delbert McClinton).  The New Orleans Times-Picayune featured him on the front page today.  It was to be an all-star line-up – Dr. John, slide guitar ace Sonny Landreth, and others.  But there also was a pretty strong indicator that he might not make it this year, either.

Charles, a notorious recluse, told the Times-Picayune that he had a dream that someone shot him in the leg at Jazz Fest.  Guess what? He didn’t end up playing today.  But those all-stars did, and there were still thousands of people trying to get a glimpse of the Fais Do-Do stage for the performance.

Calexico played alternately ethereal and rocking tex-mex.
A horn section sets them apart from a lot of other Indie-moody bands (Son Volt and Wilco come to mind).  Very polished – kind of a book-end to Lucinda Williams.

» Click HERE to view image interactively - Calexico

Then we had a bit of a detour that seemed to last ages.
First, there was the very important daily pilgrimage to the Crawfish Bread shed.  Then we got caught up talking to a man who had mounted a blender on a metal pole.  It was battery powered.  He was part of the Krewe De Blender. 

Then we made our way back towards the heinous blues tent, but got sidetracked by a man wearing angel wings made out of blue feathers.  Everyone wanted Safety Third bumper stickers, which we were glad to hand out, especially to feather man (especially since his wings set off his finely-developed pectoral muscles in such a pleasant fashion).  Some blond woman who was a friend of his kept insisting that she wanted a sticker to plaster across her ass.

We finally gave it up and said we wanted a picture for our website, but she went white and said we had to get her publicist’s permission.  That sounded like a pretty funny joke at 5:30 pm after a long day in the sun and much beer.
Apparently, it was not a joke.  Shhhh.  I don’t want to blow her cover (and I do understand her need for privacy, that is, the need not to suggest that her ass endorses Safety Third), but her nitials are A.P. and she’s on Saturday Night Live….i think she did some movies with Will Ferrell, too.

We departed for Rod, then Pharoah Sanders, and then met up with A.P. and some other folks (including blue feather man) at Liuzza’s by the Track (traditional stumble-in drunk to get more drunk after the Fest hole-in-the-wall – also, see Thursday night wrap-up for more on this particular establishment).  Ms. P kept waving her Safety-Third-clad butt at me and I told her she better get the woman in charge of her ass or I was plastering it all over my website.

Whatever.  Her butt still might go up on the website.  Oh.
I forgot.  They have K’s business card.

Liuzza After Party
» Click HERE to view image interactively - Liuzza After Party

Let’s see….then we went to Phil’s for some very fine grilled meat, and grilled chicken and grilled sausage.  Did I mention that he was serving meat?  I think there were some vegetables there – oh yeah, potato chips count, right?
It was actually a delicious spread and Phil has been quite the host.  We tip our rumpled hats at you, Cowboy.

And now we’re just about where we were last night.  Except Kay’s face up, not face down, Andras is working on putting together some fabulous new photos to go with my droning here…and I’m about to get showered so we can maybe drag ourselves out to a  1 a.m. show featuring the Voice of the Wetlands Allstars.

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