Jazz Fest Weekend Two Night Shows Close The Weekend Off Right

14:18 May 08, 2018
By: Steve Hatley
Jazz Fest week two’s night shows ended in the same spot where week one's began, with what one might hope for to bring Jazz Fest 2018 to an end.   George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic’s show seemed a bit plagued when it was first announced and truly a surprise when it all was said and done. The House of Blues date was slated for another venue during Mardi Gras, but circumstances not really clearly spelled out, caused the date to be canceled, moved, and canceled again. When Mardi Gras was no longer an option, Jazz Fest became the next best thing. 
Their SOLD OUT show at the HOB was amazing and bittersweet as George has said of late that this year will be his last year touring. Showing signs of a rough and extravagant life, he let his massive entourage/band take more if a central role and joined in the fun when he could as the show dictated. The party atmosphere on stage will be his legacy and his love and passion for life will be that cornerstone. I couldn't have chosen a better show to end Jazz Fest After Dark 2018.
Monday night brought a glam band from across the pond, The Darkness to the Civic. The great thing about the band is their passion for what they do and an ability not to take themselves too seriously. This attitude poured over into the crowd and in return was given back with such deep admiration the band could hardly stand it.   
Monday night’s show was the day one of my three-day residency at the Civic. Tuesday was a moody sleep gaze show from Beach House and Wednesday was a co-headline show from the Afghan Whigs and Built to Spill.   
The three shows were amazing in their own right. The Darkness stated above, Beach House for staying the course and creating a full on produced dream-laden show,  and the AW/BTS proving that rock isn't dead and even though they brought very different crowds,  the passion is still there and growing with every note they pound out. 
After the Beach House set and a quick trip down Tchoupitoulas to Tipitina’s, I was treated to one of the best late shows of the season with blues and roots rocker Steve Earl.  He’s touring with his backup band The Dukes and they are doing a 30th-anniversary tour of Copperhead Road. After that set, he played an assortment of hits that kept the audience entertained for the rest of the evening.  It was great hearing him relive history and share it.   There was also a nice shout out and dedication to Spider Stacy of the Pogues.  
Thursday night off, and then back to the grind.   
What would a Mardi Gras or a Jazz Fest be without catching a Galactic show?  This time around I caught them at the Joy with special guest guitarist Leo Nocentelli of The Meters. He as well as The Dirty Dozen Brass Band opened. Leo came back out mid-Galactic set to play and jam out some classic Meters tunes and returned for the encore, a New Orleans take on The Meter’s "Africa."  
Saturday was another amazing example of post-fest magic. Quite possibly the most sought after and oddly enough polarizing shows of the two week nightly escapades I encountered happened at the Saenger Theater.   If anyone remembers the Oysterhead show back in 2000, it really did set the president for future supergroup shows.  Keeping with that notion, The Sanger hosted Ryan Adams / Exile on Bourbon St. his take on the classic Rolling Stones album Exile on Main St. with special help from Stones producer and concert events director, Don Was.  The band was kept secret for quite a while, and a few days before the show the details started to spill out.  Cyril Neville was added to an already stacked list of performers, which included, bassist Don Was, guitarist Todd Wisenbaker and pianist, background vocalist T’Ben Alderman from Ryan’s band as well as, drummer Terence Higgins, organist John Medeski, trombonist Mark Mullins, trumpeter Bobby Campo, and saxophonist Alonzo Bowens. Regina and Ann McCrary of the McCrary Sisters rounded out the band and supplied the gospel-soul backing vocals.  
In many ways, the show seemed to polarize the audience, and I think maybe it’s due to the fact of how Adams presents his material. Ryan isn’t one to stick to any script, so him going off on a Dead-like jam isn’t all that surprising, but having one in almost every song of the evening could and did grow tiring.  
After the Adams adventure, I went back uptown to catch ROAR and GIVERS play Gasa Gasa. Both have a unique energy and truly enjoy what they are doing on stage.  Any time the crowd reacted favorably, each would, in turn, roll that energy back onto the crowd. We were also treated to three new GIVERS tracks, one of which can be heard here:
All in all another wonderful and enjoyable week of post-fest shows. Two weeks over and I’m spent, but fear not, Papa Grows Funk has a reunion show at Tipitina’s and as the saying goes, “There’s no rest for the…”
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