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French Quarter Fest Visitor Profile: John and Marie Morris

Belmont, California, residents John and Marie Morris know exactly what to do as soon as they land in New Orleans for French Quarter Festival.

“The first thing we do when we get out here is go to Walgreens and buy two chairs,” John Morris said. “And then when we’re done, we just give them away and head home.”

Marie and Jim Morris, OffBeat Magazine

Marie and John Morris. (Photo by: Stephen Maloney)

Marie Morris said they have made the trip to New Orleans for French Quarter Fest about 10 times in the last 20 years, sometimes bringing friends, but always staying at hotels in the French Quarter. And it all began almost by accident.

“We came one year a week after the fest, and there were still brochures out about it,” Marie Morris said. “We were talking to one of the band members at Fritzel’s, who was saying we really needed to come down for the fest, so the next year we did.”

John and Marie become fixtures at Fritzel’s European Jazz Pub on Bourbon Street every time they are in town, and they said they have developed favorites among the hundreds of musicians that perform every year.

“We like Tim Laughlin and Amanda Shaw, and of course the jazz band at Fritzel’s,” Marie Morris said. “We have a variety of interests.”

John Morris said they were able to get up close to the stage when Amanda Shaw played a jazz festival in San Jose about 10 years ago, and they had a great conversation about New Orleans and French Quarter Fest.

The best and most memorable French Quarter Fest was the first year they returned after Hurricane Katrina struck, John Morris said.

“Post Katrina we came, and we were debating whether or not it was appropriate to come,” he said. “But the artists were very glad that we came, so that made us feel good. There really weren’t that many people out that year, but it’s been growing exponentially.”

Marie Morris said she always tries to sample as much local cuisine as possible during their time in New Orleans to support as many restaurants as possible, but that’s not the only perk to being in New Orleans.

“When they say we should support local businesses, I feel really good about buying Abita beer,” John Morris said.

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Photos: French Quarter Fest Second Line Parade on Bourbon Street

The French Quarter Fest got off to a great start this morning with the annual second line parade down Bourbon Street and into Jackson Square.

Brass bands, marching groups, second line dancers, and an assortment of colorful French Quarter characters all helped officially kick off French Quarter Fest 2014 in grand style.

Hundreds of tourists and locals lined both sides of Bourbon for the length of the parade route, dancing in the streets and catching Mardi Gras Beads. Check out some pictures from the parade.

All photos by Stephen Maloney.

French Quarter Fest Second Line, by Stephen Maloney, OffBeat Magazine

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Photos: French Quarter Fest 2014 Day 1

French Quarter Fest 2014 certainly got off to a great start. The Thursday crowds were huge and enthusiastic, and the performances were great.

The weather couldn’t have been any better, helping everyone get into the festival spirit almost instantly. If this start is any indication, this year’s French Quarter Fest will be one to remember.

Check out these pictures from Day 1 of French Quarter Fest 2014. Perennial entertainer Chris Owens whipped the Jackson Square crowd into a frenzy, while Bonerama wowed on the Abita Beer stage.

All photos by Stephen Maloney.
Bonerama at French Quarter Fest 2014, OffBeat Magazine

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Ticket Giveaway: Win Tickets to see Jack White at the Saenger on June 3

We have a pair of tickets to see Jack White at the Saenger Theatre on June 3. White will perform with special guest Kelley Stoltz in support of his new album, Lazaretto, set to be released on June 10.

Jack White at the Saenger Theatre June 3

Fill out the form to enter for your chance to win! Contest ends April 18.

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New Orleans Concert Picks of the Week: April 10 – April 16, 2014

Hungry for live music… Look no further! Here’s OffBeat’s look at New Orleans’ top concerts for the week of April 3 – April 9, 2014 featuring: Corey Ledet, Raw Oyster Cult, Better Than Ezra, Meschiya Lake, Evan Christopher’s 6th Annual International Jam Session, Smoking Time Jazz Club, and Craig Klein.

Full ScheduleLouisiana Music on TourAdd a New Listing

 

April 10April 11April 12April 13April 14April 15April 16

 

THURSDAY, APRIL 10

  • Chickie Wah Wah: Arsene DeLay and Matt Clark (JV) 11p
  • Hi-Ho Lounge: Helen Gillet and Plum Magnetic (MJ) 8p
  • Howlin’ Wolf: the Lox (HH) 10p
  • Rock ‘n’ Bowl: Corey Ledet (ZY) 8:30p
  • Snug Harbor: Thais Clark CD-release party (MJ) 8 & 10p

 

FRIDAY, APRIL 11

  • Chickie Wah Wah: Paul Sanchez and Minimum Rage feat. Sonia Tetlow and Mary Lasseigne (SS) 8p
  • Maple Leaf: Raw Oyster Cult (RK) 10:30p
  • New Orleans Arena (Smoothie King Center): Kings of Leon (ID) 8p
  • Rock ‘n’ Bowl: Tab Benoit (BL) 9p
  • Tipitina’s: Lost Bayou Ramblers, Feufollet (KJ) 10p

 

SATURDAY, APRIL 12

  • Blue Nile: Brass-A-Holics (FK) 11p
  • Chickie Wah Wah: the Mercy Brothers (GS) 9p
  • d.b.a.: John Boutte (JV) 8p, Eric Lindell (BL) 11p
  • Gasa Gasa: Andrew Duhon (SS) 9p
  • House of Blues: Better Than Ezra, Matt Nathanson, JT Hodges (RK) 5:30p
  • Maple Leaf: Corey Henry and Treme Funktet (FK) 10:30p

Better Than Ezra at the House of Blues.

YouTube Preview Image

 

SUNDAY, APRIL 13

  • Maple Leaf: Joe Krown Trio feat. Russell Batiste and Walter “Wolfman” Washington (FK) 10p
  • One Eyed Jacks: Meschiya Lake (JV) 10p
  • Snug Harbor: Evan Christopher and Clarinet Road (MJ) 8 & 10p

 

MONDAY, APRIL 14

  • Little Gem Saloon: Evan Christopher’s 6th Annual International Jam Session (JV) 7p
  • Maple Leaf: George Porter Jr. and friends (FK) 10p
  • Three Muses: Joe Cabral (JV) 7p

 

TUESDAY, APRIL 15

  • d.b.a.: Treme Brass Band (BB) 9p
  • Dmac’s: Chip Wilson (SS) 7p
  • Louisiana Music Factory: Smoking Time Jazz Club (JV) 6p
  • Maple Leaf: Rebirth Brass Band (FK) 10:30p
  • Snug Harbor: Phillip Manuel’s Nat King Cole Birthday Tribute (MJ) 8 & 10p

 

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16

  • Kermit’s Mother-in-Law Lounge: Kid Merv (JV) 7p
  • Little Gem Saloon: Joshua Paxton (JV) 5p, Glen David Andrews (JV) 8p
  • Maple Leaf: Maple Leaf Tribute Series feat. Eric Vogel, Andrew Block, Raymond Weber, Naughty Professor Horns and special guests performing Stuff and the Meters (FK) 10p
  • Rock ‘n’ Bowl: Johnny J. and the Hitmen, Derek Huston (SI) 8p
  • Sandbar at UNO: Craig Klein (JV) 7p
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Mardi Gras Indian Doc “We Won’t Bow Down” Premiers April 12

A new documentary focusing on Mardi Gras Indian traditions is set to premiere on April 12 at the National WWII Museum’s Solomon Victory Theater, with proceeds going to the Pontchartrain Park Neighborhood Association.

We Won't Bow Bow Down, OffBeat Magazine

Photo Credit: Steve Mann

The movie, “We Won’t Bow Down,” was shot entirely in New Orleans over an eight year period by first time director Christopher Levoy Bower.

Bower, an Asheville, North Carolina native, was initially drawn to Indian culture by photographer and “We Won’t Bow Down” co producer Steve Mann’s pictures.

Shortly after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and scattered the close knit Mardi Gras Indian community, Bower began making conducting interviews for what would eventually become the 90 minute documentary.

On the first St. Joseph’s Day celebrations after Katrina, Bower saw the power and resilience of Mardi Gras Indian tribes up close.

“The first Indian I ever saw was Victor Harris of the Spirit of Fi-Yi-Yi, and he was singing a prayer called ‘calling all my people,’ and he was calling all his people home,” he said. “It just literally gave me chills. You could feel the spirit in the air. There must have been 50 people surrounding him, chanting. It’s just something I couldn’t let go.”

From the beginning, it was essential to capture the culture straight from the mouths of the Indians, Bower said. That meant no narration and no outside experts stepping in to explain.

“It was very important for me to let the Indians tell their history,” he said. “It’s definitely not the most intellectual approach to it, but I felt like it really resonated with the history of the culture. It’s a living culture, and that is so important because it’s always moving. A lot of the work that has been done about Indians has been done about past generations, and I want to capture that but also have this new generation that’s forming the new traditions.”

Audiences nationwide have been captivated by the movie. Bower said the world premier at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles drew an enthusiastic response – even from people outside the theater.

“We took some of the guys from the Ninth Ward Hunters and the Comanche Hunters to perform at the premier,” he said. “They did a procession through the Crenshaw Mall, and to just release that on people randomly and to see the response, that was amazing. People were coming from the parking garage, the balconies, little kids were dancing. There was a connection there that defies intellectual understanding. It was just in the spirit of what was happening.”

Monica Cooper, president and CEO of  Los Angeles based film and television production company Make It Happen Entertainment, served as executive producer on “We Won’t Bow Down.” She said actor and community activist Wendell Pierce was also an instant convert.

“Wendell Pierce saw the screening in Los Angeles, and basically contacted us and said ‘I want to make sure the folks in New Orleans see this,’ and he’s championed the movie ever since,” Cooper said. “He saw that it was important enough to get behind, and we’re definitely very appreciative of that.”

Pierce’s Pontchartrain Park Neighborhood Association will be involved in the April 12 New Orleans premier at the National WWII Museum, an event that was originally scheduled for April 13 but had to be moved up one day to accommodate Pierce’s busy filming schedule.

“We want the folks that are walking around at the French Quarter Festival to come out to see the film,” Cooper said. “We are going to have people walking around handing out fliers. We’d hate for people to be late! We want everyone to know it’s happening on April 12!”


We Won’t Bow Down Premier
National WWII Museum
Solomon Victory Theater
Saturday, April 12
Red Carpet Screening 7: 15 p.m.
General Screening 9:15 p.m.

Click Here for Tickets

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Threadhead Thursday Gets You Ready for Jazz Fest

The fifth annual Threadhead Thursday will take place in the Botanical Gardens of City Park on Thursday, April 24, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Paul Sanchez, OffBeat Magazine

The event is free (with a $10 suggested donation to City Park) and has become an un-official Jazz Fest kick-off party!

Food and beverages are available for purchase. The music lineup  includes the Landry-Walker Chosen Ones Brass Band, Paul Sanchez & the Rolling Road Show, the Creole String Beans and Arsene Delay & the 7th Ward Allstars.

Chairs and blankets are welcome! For more info on everything Threadhead including Threadhead Records and how to join the efforts of the Threadhead Cultural Foundation go to www.threadheads.org.

While there, you can also click on the Almost World Famous Jazz Fest Grids link (jazzfestgrids.com) and find out what’s going on all of the nights of Fest!

Threadhead Thursday
City Park Botanical Gardens
Thursday, April 24
6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Admission is free
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Ninth Annual Online Threadhead Charity Raffle Kicks Off

The ninth annual Threadhead Cultural Foundation Charity Raffle is offering over 165 items up for bid. Proceeds from the raffle, going on now through April 18, are used to fund grants to musicians as well as to support Silence is Violence and the New Orleans Musicians Clinic.

Threadhead-Foundation-logo

www.thrfoundation.com

Jazz Fest show tickets, rare art and posters, cool jewelry, music, books, Saints memorabilia, food, hotel stays and even a chance to sit in with the Valparaiso Men’s Chorus are all up for grabs.

The non-profit Threadhead Cultural Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, was launched in 2009 to promote the cultural heritage of New Orleans through grants and assistance to musicians, artists, and others involved in endeavors relating to music and other artistic expressions whose work is in the tradition of preserving and promoting the cultural heritage of New Orleans and the surrounding area.

The Foundation raises funds to provide direct assistance to such artists so that they can produce and distribute their work. It also promotes the cultural heritage of New Orleans through its assistance in funding free music clinics for local children.

Raffle tickets range from $1 to $10, and the raffle will come to a close at midnight on April 18.

Visit the Online Raffle Site

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The Breton Sound Plays Pinkerton at Gasa Gasa on April 17

Local rock band The Breton Sound will play Weezer’s 1996 album Pinkerton in its entirety at Gasa Gasa on April 17 as part of the Gasa Gasa “Cover Set Series.”

The second album for Weezer after the meteoric success of The Blue Album two years earlier, Pinkerton was considered a commercial failure at the time of its release but has since become a fan favorite.
The Breton Sound, Pinkerton, OffBeat Magazine

For the members of The Breton Sound, tackling Pinkerton live has been a way to reconnect with their musical past. Lead singer Jonathan Pretus and lead guitar player Stephen Turner were in a Weezer cover band called tWeezer while in college at Louisiana State University.

“tWeezer started in 2000, the second semester of my freshman year,” Pretus said. “A friend of mine was a big Weezer fan, and as a joke, we played a bunch of Weezer songs at an open mic night and it got a really good response.”

When people who were at the show started pressing Pretus and Turner to start a band to continue playing Weezer covers, the whim of an idea became a fully formed band.

“It progressively got bigger and bigger,” Pretus said. “By the time we played our last shows in 2004, we were about 50 tickets shy of selling out the Varsity Theater in Baton Rouge, and it holds 800 people.”

More than anything, tWeezer was a party band, and most shows ended with the audience streaming over to Pretus and Turner’s apartment. But the music wasn’t really challenging, Pretus said.

“The thing with tWeezer was we went for the simplest things,” he said. “Now, years later, we’re much further along in our musicianship, so we felt like this would be fun to revisit. Now we’re looking at these songs that years ago we never touched because they’re actually really tough.”

Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo has called Pinkerton his most personal album, and as The Breton Sound has prepared to tackle the album live, Pretus said he can see that Cuomo was flexing his muscles creatively when it came to the structures of the deeply personal songs.

“The movements are very complicated and don’t follow a lot of the normal patterns of not just where [Cuomo’s] songwriting traditionally goes, but where a normal chord progression traditionally would go,” Pretus said. “He was looking at a little more symphonic composition at the time, because some of the stuff that he does doesn’t really make sense in terms of a traditional pop song.”

Learning these songs that break convention has helped Pretus clear his mind while working on the next Breton Sound album, which is slated to come out by the end of the year.

“We’ve found that by learning other people’s songs and learning what makes the songs tick, you pick up things that you can apply to your own writing,” Pretus said. “It’s getting out of your own head and your own method for writing songs and seeing how other people do it and how they put things together. It’s kind of the best of both worlds in that you get to play something that isn’t yours and that you really love, so there isn’t as much pressure as a normal show, but you also get a good bit of knowledge out of it.”

The Breton Sound Plays Pinkerton
Gasa Gasa
April 17 8 p.m.
Purchase Tickets Here
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Hangout Music Festival Releases Full Schedule

The full schedule for all six stages at this year’s Hangout Music Festival has been released. The festival, which takes place on May 16-18 in Gulf Shores, Alabama, will feature a mix of big-name headliners and regional favorites.

The Black Keys at Gulf Shores' Hangout Music Festival. By Erika Goldring

The Black Keys at Gulf Shores' Hangout Music Festival. By Erika Goldring

Blues-rockers The Black Keys will headline Friday night with their only US festival of 2014, and The Killers will close out Saturday. On Sunday, fans will be treated to two headline performances: Jack Johnson on the Chevrolet Stage at sunset and Outkast immediately after on the Hangout Stage to close out the weekend.

Some of this year’s non-headliner acts will include Amos Lee performing with a gospel choir, Alabama soul rockers St. Paul and the Broken Bones returning to close out the BMI Stage on Sunday, and Moon Taxi performing a Rage Against the Machine set under the name “People of the Sun” on the Red Bull Sound Select Stage.

This year also brings the addition of more music after sunset with performances in the Boom Boom Tent by STS9 on Friday night and a much anticipated night time performance by Pretty Lights on Saturday, May 17.

Fans who haven’t purchased their tickets can still do so at www.hangoutmusicfest.com.

Full Hangout Fest Schedule

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