Monday, August 09, 2010

New Orleans at Lincoln Center - Part 2

Following up on yesterday's post that focused on Glen David Andrews at last night's Lincoln Center event, here's a little more.

Arriving at the Lincoln Center area about 40 minutes before the 7:30pm showtime, I found myself walking with a second line up the 9th Avenue sidewalk. A lady gyrating beside me said, "We don't do sidewalks in New Orleans, we do streets - first time on a sidewalk for me." The second liners circled around the Lincoln center plaza and then went on to the Damrosch Park bandshell, the site of the show.

First up was the Glen David Andrews band, revving up the crowd. The Wild Magnolias were next with standard Mardi Gras songs. Two fully dressed "Indians" danced onstage. I can't imagine how hot they must have been. New Orleans in February is not New York City in August when it comes to heat. The band was, sad to say, so so, but the lead singers were strong. A young guy with lots of energy carried the load but the star was the Big Chief in his white suit and with his one gold earring and his gold chains, frail and feeble he had one of those unmistakable gravelly New Orleans voices that do shouts, skats, and staccato so well. They said that he had been the Big Chief for fifty years. No way he wanted off that stage and as his handlers kept coming out to escort him off he shooed them away, making some of us in the crowd a bit anxious. Big Chief was big time old time.

The Soul Rebels Brass Band closed out the evening with a charged performance. It was a 45 minute non-stop ramble that segued from traditional to funk to pop and then chants in an unpredictable and amazing way. Four horns in front, two tubas, and two drummers in back, the horn players taking turns with the vocals or all joining in. The Saints(as in came marching in) kept showing up, Who Dat Gonna Beat Dem Saints came up out of nowhere at any time, there were so many transitions that it's impossible to recall what was going on. Anytime, see the Soul Rebels. No regrets possible.

They closed with a chaotic second line around and through the audience, and then hung out on stage with all of the night's performers doing riffs and random shouts, Glen David Andrews at the center of it all.


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