If the size and enthusiasm of the crowd at the first Summer Gras festival at Old Rock House was any indication, this will become a popular annual event. Billed as a "celebration of the music and food of New Orleans," Summer Gras lived up to its name with a variety of New Orleans-based and NOLA-inspired local bands split between the indoor venue and a large outdoor stage.
No American city is immune from street crime, but post-Katrina New Orleans has been devastated by so much senseless violence. Written by Carl Gustafson, "Another Murder in New Orleans" looks the facts square in the eye and expresses the human scale of the tragedy through the kind of performance that only Bobby Rush and Dr. John can summon.
It's pretty much impossible to pigeonhole New Orleans-based band the Revivalists into any one genre, because their music is truly a fusion -- a delicious mix of rock, soul, funk and jazz with a dash of reggae and even hip-hop thrown in.
Every year I head to Lafayette, La. for an international spring festival with little or no idea of the bands I will see. The quality of musical performers is outstanding, and I find one or two bands that become a favorite that I place on my future "must see" list.
The stage of the Old Rock House was flush with microphones, creating a fence of stands along the front edge as the early-bird patrons picked out a table, a drink and a bite to eat before the show.
In the green space of Strauss Park that looks out on the Fox Theatre, Funky Butt Brass Band set up for a rendition of the traditional song "Just a Closer Walk with Thee."
We met St. Louis' Funky Butt Brass Band in the Grandel Theatre and congregated in the upstairs chapel area.