The Roots Dig In at The Orpheum

00:00 May 01, 2016
By: Emily Hingle

The immaculate Orpheum Theater was bustling with people swarming to see the legendary Roots perform with local brass bands and more. Some came from apres-Jazz Fest early shows, and some came looking super fine, perhaps from a nice NOLA meal, but they kept coming in until 3 a.m. No rest for the music lover during Fest season!

The Hot 8 Brass Band lived up to their name; they were hot! But they definitely had far more than 8 musicians; I counted sixteen. I felt that this set was especially funky with the addition of stinged instruments, and it had an excellent groove that seemed to last for hours. 

In between sets, The Human Experience jammed a rather eclectic set. The core member, David Block, DJ'd some downtempo electronic mixed with some soulful funk to capture the mood of the evening but adding the electronic element. Before The Roots played, The Human Experience was joined by the sisterly duo Rising Appalachia when they showed up unannounced and performed a few lovely, serene songs for the crowd. I thought that their very particular brand of folk was a fantastic palette cleanser between racous brass bands. This sister act was well-known for busking in the streets of the Quarter. 

The Roots performed a long and intoxicating set that included lots of homages and tributes. Black Thought was looking dapper in his white suit and commanded the stage. And, as you can see, Tuba Gooding, Jr. did his best to compete, even walking out onto the amps to get closer to the audience at one point. Their set included the super sexy "Break You Off," The Meters' "Handclapping Song." "The Next Movement," and Led Zepplin's anomoly "Immigrant Song." The entire crowd seemed to be in constant motion if you were watching from the balconies. The Roots have got a way of getting everyone into the mix and having very involved moments. All-in-all, I would, personally, skip a day of Jazz Fest to see an all-around great show like this again. 

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