The gauntlet — the gentle, down-filled, pina colada-scented gauntlet — was dropped when The Doobie Brothers and Peter Frampton challenged Beyonce and Jay Z for the top concert spot on Sunday, July 20. While the Doobies and Frampton take Champions Square, Beyonce and Jay Z will take the neighboring Superdome. It's either a scheduling coincidence or a house-packing booking strategy, with titans of hip-hop and yacht rock meeting to do battle. Either way, the message is clear (kind of): Herewith begins the summer of soft rock.
A few days later, on Saturday, July 26, Steely Dan headlines the UNO Lakefront Arena. And on Monday, August 18, Toto (of "Hold the Line" and "Africa" fame) celebrates its 35th anniversary with "An Evening with Toto," presented by New Orleans FM radio's soft rock king, Magic 101.9.
Meanwhile, along the Gulf Coast casino circuit (a reliable stronghold of yacht rock legion of yesteryear), the Yacht Rock Revue — which bills itself as "the music you listen to at the dentist's office while getting your teeth cleaned" and "single-handedly responsible for the reunion of 6 out of 7 members of the band Starbuck" — performs Saturday, August 2 at the Golden Nugget in Biloxi, Mississippi. Air Supply performs two whole nights July 25-26 at Hard Rock Live, and Boz Scaggs — who performed at the 2014 Jazz Fest — also is at Hard Rock Live Saturday, August 16. And the mashed potato-mouthed soul king himself, Michael McDonald, performs at Island View Casino on Saturday, September 13.
Iggy Azalea's "Fancy" has been crowned, reluctantly, the song of the summer in 2014, while just two years ago, we all were giving into the simple pop pleasure of Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" as 2012's song of the summer. What happened to us? "Fancy" has been No. 1 for six whole weeks. Six. Six of them. A month and a half. Rather than champion a garbage can to the summer song throne, why not look to our elders? They already are filling up a local concert calendar near you. I made an exhaustive primer for all things yacht rock, soft rock, AM radio pop, etc. It's an instant nostalgia machine — for me, morning commutes in my mom's car listening to adult contemporary format radio in the early '90s. For you, a doorway into a world of possibility.
Update, July 7: Buffa's court date has been rescheduled for July 22.
Thanks to everyone who showed up yesterday showing their support and signing notarized documents showing Buffa's has had live performances in excess of the 10 year period required by the city to qualify for a non-compliance exemption. With your help, we hope to put this matter to rest once and for all on the 22nd.
Mimi's in the Marigny — one of the central venues in the ongoing conversation about music permitting and noise ordinances — has suspended its live music schedule. As first reported this afternoon on NOLA.com, Mimi's music programming is taking a brief hiatus, though staff there haven't confirmed why.
Meanwhile, Buffa's Bar & Restaurant announced on its Facebook today that the watering hole and entertainment spot now faces a lawsuit from 1011 Esplanade Avenue Inc., alleging that it has violated the city's noise ordinance. The post also says the suit challenges Buffa's mayoralty permit allowing live music, though the venue has been a longtime fixture for music in the neighborhood.
In 2012 we provided the city with 53 letters from Buffa's patrons and musicians substantiating the long history of live music at Buffa's. The city accepted these letters as proof and we assumed that would be the end of it, as long as we paid for the permit each year.
At 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Buffa's will host a notary public to notarize signed affidavits supporting the business, and it invites the public, "especially if you either performed or attended a live performance prior to the year 2000. Bring your letter to Buffa's this Sunday and have it notarized. If you already wrote a letter on our behalf, we will have a copy ready for you to review and an affidavit stating it is truthful."
Buffa's and 1011 Esplanade Avenue Inc., an address held by Sidney Torres IV, will take up the suit in Orleans Parish Civil District Court next week. Holly, an employee at the bar who did not give her last name, said the staff was puzzled, not only because the music in the back club was not too loud and because Torres, who has lived next door to the bar for several years, has been a customer in the past, and has "always been really nice to everyone here."
Holly mentioned that Torres has been a customer at Buffa's before, and "he even brought Kid Rock, so I don't know what all this is about."
The news comes nearly two years after a string of music venues and bars were forced to shuffle schedules as the city of New Orleans began cracking down on permits. Mimi's was able to resume its music programming shortly after, but early last year, it suspended its schedule again following a lawsuit from neighbors and residents. Last fall, Mimi's received its permit to host live music, though neighbors and residents who filed the lawsuit promised to fight it.
This weekend's center of the universe attraction is the 20th anniversary edition of Essence Festival — with the purple king Prince headlining Friday, July 4. Other headliners include Erykah Badu, Janelle Monae, Nile Rogers, Nas and a dozen others. Find a rundown of more noteworthy concerts for your three-day weekend below.
Thursday, July 3
Portland, Oregon garage-punk outfit P.R.O.B.L.E.M.S. is at Siberia (2227 St. Claude Ave.) at 10 p.m. Stream the band's 2011 album Make It Through the Night here — a blast of high voltage, leather-clad rock 'n' roll. The show also is the debut of King Louie Bankston's latest, Lord High Panther. Tickets $5.
At 10 p.m. at Tipitina's (501 Napoleon Ave.), Living Colour's Doug Wimbish performs with an all-star lineup, with Big Sam Williams, Khris Royal, Josh Connelly, Nigel Hall and Terrence Houston, among others. Tickets $18.
Tickets are now on sale for the 2014 Voodoo Experience. The annual festival — which features headliners Foo Fighters and Outkast for this year's event — returns to City Park on Halloweend weekend, Friday-Sunday, Oct. 31-Nov. 2.
Three-day general admission passes are $150. Three-day Loa passes are $350, and Loa VIP passes (with parking) are $400. A "super VIP" Rites of Passage pass for the weekend is $2,500 — which gets you "special backstage access and additional exclusive privileges."
The Camp Voodoo pass for luxury festival-glamping for two is $3,500. These include artist credentials as well as safari tents with beds, linens, furniture, electricity, parking and bathrooms, as well as "breakfast, late-night snacks and more."
Tickets are available on the Voodoo website.
As Dr. John hinted in his Gambit interview previewing an all-star tribute to the Night Tripper, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is set to release a Louis Armstrong tribute album, Ske-Dat-De-Dat...The Spirit Of Satch (Concord Records). "Louis came to me in a dream and told me to do his music but do it my way," he told Gambit. "This next record is going to be one funky-butt tribute to Louis Armstrong." The album is scheduled for an Aug. 19 release.
The album — co-produced and arranged by trombonist Sarrah Morrow — also features Bonnie Raitt (on "I've Got the World on a String"), as well as Ledisi and the McCrary Sisters (on "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen"), Anthony Hamilton (on "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child"), Shemekia Copeland (on "Sweet Hunk O' Trash") and the Blind Boys of Alabama (on two tracks: "What a Wonderful World" and "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams").
In a statement, Dr. John said, "The whole thing felt pretty special, and I desitively was in a different zone for this record. ... I wanted to pull together some of his hits and some of the songs he wasn't as well known for, and make them feel fresh and different. Sarah wrote some slammin' charts that kept everything spacious and hip. And everybody played and sang great, and gave it their own spirit."
Hurray for the Riff Raff's Alynda Lee Segarra took centerstage on last night's The Late Show with David Letterman, where the band performed the standout track "The Body Electric" from the band's ATO Records debut Small Town Heroes. The song — a sharp contrast to her TV debut performance on Conan — frames a solemn murder ballad to address violence against women. This morning, Segarra posted the video on Facebook with a message:
"the body electric" means so much to me and while i was up there I thought about so much. i had my family in the audience, and the women of the world on my mind. i brought with me my memory of Sali Grace, and an image of the Gulabi Gang in India. I thought about Angela Davis, bell hooks, Laverne Cox, Audre Lorde, Nina Simone, Odetta, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, and all the other women from our history that inspired me and changed me. this is what I have to give, it is my offering. i was nervous, but i did the best i could and now it's for all of you.
Local punk rock band PEARS — made up of alumni from bands like The Breton Sound, Fatter Than Albert and The Lollies, among others — already has generated buzz among the national punk press following its debut EP earlier this year. The band's first full-length, Go to Prison, is out today. The band celebrates with a release show opening for Massachusetts punks A Wilhelm Scream at 10 p.m. at Siberia (2227 St. Claude Ave). Tickets $12.
Stream the album here. Vocalist Zach Quinn's rapid fire, pitch perfect ferocity and humor (the band's logo goofs on the Fear logo) propels the band's melodic hardcore punk, which zig zags in its speed, cynicism, ferocious guitars and killer melodies somewhere between the Descendents and NOFX. The band also covers the Ramones' "Judy is a Punk," which the band notes, "was written by some dude in a leather jacket."
The Playing For Change band, the globetrotting supergroup of performers and street musicians, performs at Tipitina's (501 Napoleon Ave.) tonight, June 18. The viral hit takes the stage at 8 p.m. Tickets $23.
The band — featuring New Orleans' harmonica player Grandpa Elliot (pictured, center), who performed regularly around the French Quarter — brings together performers from around the world, including the Netherlands, Congo, South Africa, Japan, Cuba and elsewhere.
The idea was created by co-founders Mark Johnson and Whitney Kroenke in 2005. A crew captured the performers with a mobile recording studio, resulting in a version of "Stand By Me" featuring more than 35 musicians (all of whom never met in person). The vidoe has racked more than 60 million views. This week, the band’s third CD/DVD release Playing For Change 3: Songs Around The World was released, and the Playing For Change band currently is on a 27-date nationwide tour.
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