Sunday, April 19, 2009

French Quarter Fest Day Two

Pity the poor musicians who had to play opposite the Lost Bayou Ramblers Saturday at the U.S. Mint. Not only did the Ramblers draw everyone to their stage, they had a huge crowd backed up on Barracks Street. The band is the latest example of a new generation of Louisiana roots music, a hybrid of Cajun, Zydeco and rock sensibilities. The fiddler saws away in the great bayou tradition, but the way the bassist slaps and sunders his upright goes right past punk, back to rock's ancient roots in rockabilly. Shades of Jay Miller's Crowley studio!
Big ups for Fatien, another terrific hybrid of African drumming with local musicians including Dr. Michael White on clarinet, Jason Marsalis on vibraphone and Michael Skinkus on drums. Marc Stone is out of this world on steel guitar in this lineup.
The original Hurrican Brass Band ought to make commercials for the chamber of commerce. "We want you to go back to the rest of the United States," they told the crowd, "and tell them New orleans is back." As if to put an exclamation point on the message, the band proceeded to play "Back Home in Indiana."
Though they're not part of the Fest, check out the Shufflin' Crustaceans at the Crazy Lobster.

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