Hello Sunshine. Hello Crawfish Monica. Hello sweet refreshing snowball. With nary a raindrop in sight, and not as much mud as you’d think, Friday at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival was hot-hot-hot … in more ways than one. And what better way to celebrate than with Bonerama and Glide’s Artist Of The Day, The Revivalists. Both bands were humming with electricity on the Gentilly stage and if you were there and you missed them, shame-shame-shame.
But it was definitely the perfect opportunity to enjoy the day just wandering the grounds allowing your ears and nose to lead you. If you got there early, you were in for a treat over at the Fais-Do-Do stage with the Cajun sounds of Lafayette, Louisiana’s Feufollet. They border that line between spicy Cajun and rock & roll. It was definitely hopping at this stage all day long: Honey Island Swamp Band, Creole String Beans, Los Lobos and CJ Chenier.
However, the Gentilly stage was again the stage to beat. Becoming more and more popular, almost rivaling the main Acura stage for extraordinary artists, Gentilly began with the Mississippi Rail Company and ended with My Morning Jacket, who did a faithful version of Prince’s “Purple Rain” as the festival was coming to a close. That unshakable melody cascaded over the grounds like a sweet, almost angelic, requiem to an artist who will be missed for generations to come.
Paul Simon and Elvin Bishop brought in large crowds for their headlining sets at the Acura stage and in the Blues tent respectfully. Irma Thomas was once again back on the main stage just prior to Simon, while former members of The Radiators, collectively known as Raw Oyster Cult, were at Gentilly.
Other notable artists included Luther Kent, Shamarr Allen, Tony Hall doing a tribute to James Brown, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Jazmine Sullivan and Ms Lauryn Hill.
Saturday brings to the stage the legends Stevie Wonder, Buddy Guy, Dr John, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Arturo Sandoval; plus Beck, Jon Batiste, Royal Southern Brotherhood, Big Freedia, Kristin Diable, Hurray For The Riff Raff, Snoop Dogg and Kermit Ruffins doing his tribute to Louis Armstrong.