Sundays on Frenchmen Street: A Musical Journey

Sunday nights may have a reputation for being on the quieter side, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find more superb music in New Orleans than you know what to do with, even after the Mardi Gras hubbub has died down.

Lagniappe Brass Band, a young, seven-man crew in the vein of the Soul Rebels, once again got the party raging at Blue Nile with their irresistible storm of brass and beats on Sunday February 22.

The crowd arrived a little tentative, but with trumpet player Rob Walker’s hollered request to “take five steps toward the stage!” it didn’t take much time to let loose, start dancing, and lose themselves in the whirlwind.

Marigny Brasserie patrons in the market for a lower-key dinner hour (but one that still featured exceptional music) were able to enjoy the acoustic offerings of local duo Sweet Deluxe.

The act features Jimmy Sweetwater playing, for lack of a better descriptor, a washboard (it has all sorts of other bells and whistles attached), and the quietly-compelling singer/guitarist Dick Deluxe in his folksier, more dulcet incarnation.

Vic Shepherd and his band rocked the Apple Barrel late into the night with their bluesy tunes and hard-driving guitar riffs. Their material ranges from old-school rock and roll to surf to 60s pop (and beyond) and the tireless crowd was looking absolutely delighted throughout the set.

Spotted during the show: Big Chief Alfred Doucet and the poignant songstress (and 2014 Best of Beat triple-nominee) Lynn Drury, along with Dick Deluxe and his visiting friend, the 2007 International Blues Challenge winner Sean Carney. (Those lucky enough to catch Carney’s surprise sit-in with Johnny Mastro on Saturday got a real treat.)

Also grooving late into the night were the Pat Casey and the New Sound. The young jazz band boasts five regular members, and every single one of them is an all-star.

Each stunning solo – whether on horn, guitar, bass, or drums – draws you in completely, and the band seamlessly blends the traditional, the contemporary, and various influences from  around the world. You may enter the Spotted Cat expecting trad jazz, but the New Sound will make you feel like you’re kind of at a psychedelic jam session.

That’s only the tip of the iceberg.

From the dozens of other great shows on Frenchmen, and to the hundreds of others around the city, you won’t go wrong venturing out as the weekend draws to a close. (For a dependably fun night out every Sunday, be sure to check out Gal Holiday & the Honky Tonk Revue at Chickie Wah Wah. With frontwoman Vanessa “Gal” Niemann back from a recent gig in Lafayette with Dr. John and special guest Tim Robertson on electric guitar, it’s a sure bet that their spirited, infectious Western swing got the crowds two-steppin’ last night.)

What’s your favorite way to close out the weekend on Frenchmen Street?