Monday, April 20, 2009

French Quarter Fest Day Three

Wow. Tom McDermott, a true New Orleans piano hero. The Nightcrawlers, a band started by McDermott but now on their own, once again featuring the great sousaphonist Matt Perrine. Jason Mingledorff on saxophones. Davis Rogan leading 100 kids from the International School in awesome versions of "What A Wonderful World" and "Mardi Gras Mambo." Some of the city's best known names could learn a lesson in sincerity from the emotional commitment the kids brought to those songs. Alvin the tray player from Pat O'Brien's jamming with the Bucktown All Stars. Trombone Shorty, whose charisma seems to grow daily, blistering the paint off the hulls of passing tankers with the intensity of his band's sound. The Radiators closing it all out like only they can do. It was unfortunate timing for Gambit's Music Awards to be taking place at the same time as French Quarter Fest. It was even more unfortunate that the Radiators walked over after finishing their gig only to be snubbed in the voting for Best Rock Band, an award which was unjustly presented to Rotary Downs, a fine band but simply not in the same league as the Radiators. On the plus side, Gambit publisher Clancy DuBos gave a stirring speech denouncing Gov. Boobie "Earthquake" Jindal's jerkwater pogrom against public arts funding. Boobie must have nightmares about "Pisschrist" showing up at a local museum. Inherit the wind, Boobie. Clint Maedgen was really entertaining as the show's main host and scene stealer. Art Neville was cracking the audience up with his ad libs and lack of interest in the teleprompter script. "I can't even see that thing," Art said.
The most spectacular moment of the night was Theresa Andersson's performance, a stunningly cutting edge and creative showcase of her vocal, instrumental and electronic skills. The crowd ate it up. Theresa continues to evolve into one of the city's truly original new artists.
Dr. John won a couple of awards and got a chance to answer the corporate critics who've been lambasting him for having the temerity to suggest that Jazz Fest sponsor Shell should bear some of the blame for the destruction of the Louisiana coastline that led to the inundation of New Orleans. Dr John was forced to offer a detailed apology to the Jazz Fest and Shell in Sunday's New Orleans Times Picayune. So much for free speech. But Dr. John had the last word: "If you don't stand for something, you've got nothing to stand on."
Thank you, Mac, and as for Shell, I'd like to know how much of that precious money goes to Louisiana artists as opposed to carpetbagging has beens like Bon Jovi and the usual overpaid corporate executives.

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