[Content Provided by Landon Murray and Where Y'at Staff]

Jazz Fest: Top Picks for Saturday, April 29

10:42 April 25, 2017
By: Landon Murray and Staff

Headliner Decision:

Jazz Fest: Top Picks for Saturday, April 29Jazz Fest: Top Picks for Saturday, April 29Jazz Fest: Top Picks for Saturday, April 29

MAROON 5 vs. USHER AND THE ROOTS vs. ALABAMA SHAKES

Saturday the 29th will likely end up being a big day at the fest, and the top three acts are all well-rounded and fun in their own way. First up, we have the enthusiastic pop sensibilities of Jazz Fest alumni Maroon 5. Over the last decade or so, Mr. Levine and company have strung together some pretty sizable hits that enable them to thoroughly entertain the crowd. It's sure to be a sing-along-friendly crowd, but that doesn't make it all bad. Some of those songs are utterly infectious, and I have a feeling most of the crowd will be swooning when the inevitable moment comes when Levine's shirt starts falling off. If that's your thing.

Our next option isn't just different in terms of how the music is made, but it might actually be one of the more fun shows this year at the Fair Grounds. Usher on his own would be a huge get, but the fact that his house band is the legendary The Roots makes this prize all the sweeter. Usher, with his hip hop, R&B-infused pop music, will make the crowd jump and dance, but the addition of The Roots, with their funky soul tendencies, make this something that's a must-see for fans of both.

Lastly, we have a more soulful approach to classic rock'n'roll with a feminine, powerful twist. Alabama Shakes has been steadily getting bigger every year, and I expect a crowd that isn't huge but will still have a lot of energy. The Shakes have grown on me over time, and as the band is getting consistently good coverage, this will be a great show if the other two main options aren't your cup of tea.

VERDICT: Go with Usher and The Roots boys. Between the two of them, they have plenty of hits to chose from, and quite frankly, they're just more fun and energetic than the other two.

Remaining Picks:

Xavier University Jazz Ensemble Band

Lagniappe Stage, 11:30 a.m.- 12:20 p.m.

The local university puts on quite the show for Jazz Fest. The Xavier Jazz Ensemble has played across the country in numerous venerable venues and as far away as China. This concert gives students a chance to experience Jazz Fest and do a little musical studying while they are there. The band will play classics, contemporary music, and original pieces from students.

Jazz Fest: Top Picks for Saturday, April 29
[Photo Provided by Where Y'at Staff]

Charmaine Neville Band

Blues Tent, 12:05 p.m.- 12:50 p.m.

It's a family affair! Cyril Neville & Tribe 13 is a New Orleans R&B and funk group that never fails to turn up the fun. The group's lead vocalist and conga player, Cyril Neville, plays alongside his wife, Gaynelle. Gaynelle's vocals add a great deal of soul to the group. The Caesar brothers on keyboards and drums keep up the tempo of the group.

Pete Fountain Jazz Funeral Parade

Starts in Front of Economy Hall Tent, 1:20 p.m.

Pete Fountain, a Jazz Fest staple, sadly passed away in August of 2016, but his spirit still lives on. Fountain was a regular on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and he also founded the Half Fast Walking Club that marched every Fat Tuesday. Be sure to join the Half Fast Marching Club and Storyville for a second-line jazz funeral parade honoring one of the original Jazz Fest musicians.

Jazz Fest: Top Picks for Saturday, April 29
[Photo Provided by Where Y'at Staff]

Rebirth Brass Band

Congo Square Stage, 3:25 p.m.- 4:40 p.m.

Formed in 1983, the band has moved from the streets of New Orleans to perform all over the world. While you can see them play at the Maple Leaf Bar every Tuesday, also make sure to catch them at the festival. Rebirth upholds the tradition of brass bands but also incorporates modern music into their show. The Grammy Award-winning band is a favorite of music lovers both young and old.

Jazz Fest: Top Picks for Saturday, April 29
[Photo Provided by Where Y'at Staff]

Crescent City Lights Youth Theater

Kids Tent, 4:10 p.m.- 4:55 p.m.

Founded in 1993 by Julie Condy, the Crescent City Lights Youth Theater's goal is to fill a gap in arts programming for young people by providing affordable theater programs for children in the New Orleans area. The group aims to bring theatrical professionals together with New Orleans youth and advance kids' professional and life skills through these interactions. The performance will be family-friendly.

The Backstreet Cultural Museum - A Powerhouse of Knowledge

The Grandstand

The Grandstand gives festival-goers a chance to take an intimate look at the vibrant culture, cuisine, and art of Louisiana. The goal of the museum, according to their website, is to "preserve and perpetuate the unique cultural traditions of New Orleans's African American society through collections, exhibitions and publications, public programs, and performances." Director Sylvester Francis shares his life's work through these various media.

Cultural Hairstyles by Zina Harris

Louisiana Folklife Village

Zina Harris is a talented hairstylist from Gretna, Louisiana. Get in touch with your New Orleans roots—literally. Zina Harris will be offering her services to give cultural hairstyles to festival-goers who want to get the full Jazz Fest experience. You will also be able to learn about the history of certain hairstyles, particularly African American hairstyles that developed throughout the South.

Jazz Fest: Top Picks for Saturday, April 29
[Photo Provided by Where Y'at Staff and Praline Connection]

Get Your Soul Food Fix at Praline Connection

Food Area 2

While the Praline Connection does have pralines, there is so much more to it. The Praline Connection can satisfy all of your home-cooked and Southern comfort food needs. Grilled chicken livers with pepper jelly is a favorite for the local palate, and crowder peas and okra, collard greens, crispy wings, and fried okra should be tasty to everyone.

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