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Music writers, photographers look back on New Orleans concerts in 2011

Live Music Blog: NOLA, a content partner of NolaVie, looks back at the music scene in New Orleans in 2011. LMBN writers and photographers recount their favorite shows, festival sets and those rare moments where they ended up at the right place at the right time. Enjoy.

JIMMY GROTTING, photographer

The Silent Comedy @ Tipitina's Uptown - 3/22/11 || Photo by Jimmy Grotting

Most Memorable Shows of 2011

Bela Fleck and the Flecktones at House of Blues || 10/11/11
Anders Osborne Trio at The Howlin’ Wolf || 1/22/11
Olivia Tremor Control & One Man Machine @ One Eyed Jacks || 8/29/11
Original Meters @ The Voodoo Experience || 10/30/11
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros @ Railroad Revival – Woldenburg Park || 4/26/11

Favorite NOLA Festival Set

The Radiators closing out Jazz Fest.

Best Festival Late Night

Thievery Corporation @ The Sugar Mill || 5/7/11

Best Local Festival of 2011

Jazz Fest. Can’t beat that weather.

Most Surprising Show of the Year

Bounce V @ The Republic

Favorite Band To Shoot

New Orleans Bingo! Show


North Mississippi All-Stars on Super Moon's Eve 2011 || Photo by Jimmy Grotting

Most Memorable Shows of 2011

(In no particular order, despite the numbers)
1. North Mississippi Allstars Supermoon Night @ Tipitina’s Uptown || 3/19/11
2. Dr. Dog & Felice Brothers @ Tipitina’s || 11/10/11
3. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes @ Railroad Revival Tour, Woldenburg Park || 4/26/11
4. Gary Clark Jr. @ House of Blues Parish Room || 9/11/11
5. STS9 Friday show @ HOB || 11/4/11

Best Festival Late Night

Ghostland Observatory @ CAC during Mardi Gras

Most Surprising Show of the Year

Benevento/Porter/Stoltz/Deitch @ House of Blues Parish Room. After the improvisational first half, definitely didn’t see “F*** You” and “Why Can’t We Be Friends” coming for set II. Incredible show.

Best Festival Set

Dr. John/Dan Auerbach/Pres Hall Superjam @ Bonnaroo || 6/12/11

Favorite local festival

The Oak Street Po-Boy Fest || 11/20/11. A much more manageable crowd this year, insanely delicious food, and George Porter Jr. and the Runnin’ Pardners shutting things down with “Sneakin Sally Thru the Alley.”

Favorite show you covered

Garage a Trois @ One Eyed Jacks || 9/23/11


ACL 2011 Photo Collage

Most Memorable Shows of 2011

1. Anders Osborne Trio @ The Howlin’ Wolf || 1/22/11 (a close second was the Anders-led Superjam with Friends at Tip’s
2. Arcade Fire @ Jazz Fest || 5/6/11
3. My Morning Jacket @ Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival || 6/10/11
4. Garage A Trois @ Louisiana Music Factory > Gregg Allman @ House of Blues > Megalomaniac’s Ball @ The Howlin’ Wolf || 5/4/11 – 3 shows in one day, the perfect way to ease into the 2nd weekend of Jazz Fest.
5. Yo La Tengo @ Tipitina’s || 1/29/11

Favorite NOLA Festival Late Night

2 a.m. Superjam in the Parish Room @ House of Blues New Orleans || 5/6/11. Improvisational music at its absolutely finest, and huge dividends for those who stuck it out until the end with some cool covers.

What I’ll remember most about 2011

Interviewing Gregg Allman in May, a musical hero I’ve worshipped since the cradle. Also, launching this web site in January and then seeing far more concerts than your average law student.

Favorite NOLA festival set

The Radiators Jazz Fest Farewell with Friends || 5/8/11. So much joy in the air that afternoon, both onstage and in the crowd; the “end time” of 7 p.m. was very soft and the Rads played on til about 7:20 p.m. Spirits were at an all-time high for the weekend; can’t think of a much better way to end a music festival.

Favorite local festival of 2011

Jazz Fest, seven days of sunshine (although school prevented me from enjoying the first three) and the morning catharsis waiting in the Gospel Tent made for an unparalleled festival experience.

Surprise Show of the Year

The debut performance of Jason Ricci’s band Approved By Snakes at a free show in early January at Tipitina’s; only a scant few were lucky enough to be in attendance. I wasn’t aware the harmonica was capable of such things — and I saw John Popper later this year. Haven’t heard about this band performing together since. If that’s gonna be your one show, they made it count.

Outta Town Highlights

  • Phish had the best lights I’ve ever seen at the Hollywood Bowl. CK5 saw the capabilities provided by the unique Shell stage and painted one fine technicolor canvas. It was special, even by Phish standards || 8/8/11
  • Watching the four original Meters playing together for the first time in life was surreal. I saw them perform a four-song mini set at the 10th annual Bonnaroo festival that started at 12:30 a.m., sandwiched between Eminem and The String Cheese Incident. Such is Bonnaroo. || 6/11/11.
  • Delta Spirit, Bomba Estereo, My Morning Jacket, Arcade Fire, Santigold and the FUTUREBIRDS highlighted a trip to Texas for the Austin City Limits music festival.
  • A Labor Day concert in Lake Martin, AL with Blues Traveler and Tea Leaf Green. It was early enough in the fall and the debate over who was the best football team in the state was still a reasonable talking point and John Popper played up to this while downing about 27 liquor drinks and putting on a stellar 2+ hour jam-heavy set (w/ Radiohead cover). The football debate has since been resolved.
  • Not really a highlight per se, but I had the opportunity to watch the Darius Rucker perform on the Sea Island Golf Course in my hometown of St. Simons Island, GA in October. Easily (sadly?) the biggest concert event to hit the Golden Isles of Georgia in the last couple decades.

MARC PAGANI, photographer

tUnE-yArDs @ One Eyed Jacks || Photo by Marc Pagani

I didn’t get out as much as I would have liked in 2011, as I was traveling so much on assignment. That said, I really did enjoy the tUnE-yArDs show at One Eyed Jacks. I always enjoy shooting local brass band shows, because the musicians are animated, and the crowd gets equally, if not MORE into it. I love all of the buckjumping and heel toe dancing that goes on at those shows. Glen David Andrews was a favorite to shoot this year, as was Cedric Burnside, who I was hired to shoot several times this year.


Johnny Sketch & The Dirty Notes @ The Maple Leaf || Photo © Lon Marchand

5 Most Memorable Shows

Benevento / Billy Martin / Reed Mathis @ Le Petite Theatre || 4/29/11. These three in a Spanish mansion in the French Quarter? I would do it every Friday. Fantastic show.

Allen Toussaint @ Snug Harbor || 5/5/11

Galactic Lundi Gras @ Tipitina’s || 3/7/11. Woke up cheery-eyed around 4 a.m., got dressed, hit Tip’s around 4:30 for the last set … talk about a different experience from the usual.

Bach Around The Clock @ Trinity Episcopal Church || 3/19/11. Albinas Prizgintas and friends play Bach for 24 hours straight, culminating in a midnight Toccata and Fugue in D minor on the house organ, lit only by candlelight. Ellis Marsalis stopped by for a small set just before the finale.

FUTUREBIRDS @ One Eyed Jacks || 9/13/11. Definitely my favorite Tuesday of the year.

Best Festival Late Night

George Porter Jr., June Yamagishi, Ivan Neville & Johnny Vidacovich @ The Maple Leaf || 5/4/11. If there is a better way to kick off second weekend than with these guys in the Maple Leaf, please let me know. June hammering out the “Just Kissed My Baby” intro almost brought that place down.

Most Surprising Show of the Year

I went into Explosions In The Sky (9/28/11) and Gary Clark Jr. (9/11/11) with no real expectations (and was blown away both times), but as far as just one of those “go out for a beer and get worked by a local band” stories… I will say The Colin Lake Trio @ dba on the first Thursday of Jazz Fest. All the way on the Colin Lake bus after that one.

Best Festival Set

I’m going to go with Robert Plant & The Band of Joy at Jazzfest. I have always been a big Zep fan and so on the first Friday I snuck off to the fest solo, nuzzled up with some old timers about 35 feet back at the Acura Stage, and got to watch the spit fly out of Bob’s mouth during a late-afternoon Jazz Fest “Ramble On.” It was special.

Favorite Show You Covered

Bela Fleck and the Flecktones @ House of Blues (10/11/11). Vic Wooten is still ending Flecktones gigs with the greatest bass solo of all time.

Best Local Festival Set

Anders Osborne & Friends @ Hogs For The Cause || 3/26/11. Anders Osborne, Carl Dufrene, John Gros & Eric Bolivar. City Park. March. Pork. Daquiris in a pouch. Nuff said?

Best Out-of-Town Show

Gotta go with Furthur at The Fabulous Fox Theatre in Atlanta. Went to see Bobby and Phil in one of my favorite theaters in the country, and left questioning matters of deeper importance. The first set was pretty much perfect, and the second set played out something like “Wharf Rat -> Born Cross Eyed -> Dark Star -> Time -> Dear Prudence -> Terrapin Suite.” Complete heat show.

Favorite Show Overall

I have to say The Super Jam @ the House of Blues Parish Room. That was completely a mind-bender. People were exploding in the bathroom.


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