This weekend City Park will be transformed into a barbecue-lover’s Valhalla as pitmasters from across the country do battle in a contest where the only losers are vegetarians. And although the food is the main attraction at Hogs for the Cause, the music lineup is one of the strongest of any festival this year. There’s a healthy mix of local and national artists that were clearly hand-picked to serve as the perfect soundtrack for what adds up to one helluva good time.
Here are the five bands we’re most excited to catch this weekend:
J. Roddy Walston and his brothers in the Business play a revved-up version of barroom honky tonk that sounds like the lost tracks of a classic Led Zeppelin album recorded at Muscle Shoals. J. Roddy’s pounding piano leads the way for the rest of the band to lock in and holler their way through some of the best Southern rock to emerge in the past decade. Get a good spot and prepare to be blown away.
Hiss Golden Messenger channels Laurel Canyon folk rock in such an authentic way that it becomes impossible to tell if the music was recorded in 1967 or only last year. The sunny grooves will be the perfect soundtrack for a Saturday afternoon of barbecue and beer as the band plays tunes off their excellent 2014 album Lateness of Dancers.
Moon Hooch hails from the back alleys of New York’s jazz scene, bashing out raucous jams that they dub “cave music” with reckless abandon and complete confidence. Exhilarating crescendos give way to dance-ready breakdowns for what amounts to nothing less than full-on party music. These guys have spent time on the road with seasoned vets like Galactic and They Might Be Giants and picked up a few tricks of the trade from these expert party-starters.
Many bands claim to be true originals, but Toubab Krewe can almost guarantee you’ve never heard anything quite like them. The instrumental rock band blends traditional African instruments with electric guitars and funky New Orleans rhythms for an infectiously appealing sound that leaps off the stage. Local drum phenom Terrence Houston adds an authentic NOLA feel to the group, and will be pulling double duty on Saturday when he plays with George Porter Jr. and the Runnin Pardners later in the afternoon.
Tim Showalter, the musical brains behind Strand of Oaks, has a knack for channeling some seriously intense life experiences, including a near-fatal car crash and time spent homeless after his house burned down, into melodic and engaging songs that sound great on a big stage. His most recent album, HEAL, shows his range as a songwriter as he effortlessly shifts from stadium rock to quiet folk, sometimes in the same song.
BONUS: DJ Mannie Fresh
After last year’s wildly popular late-night dance party with DJ Jubilee, the guys of Deuce Pigalow, Pork Gigolo recruited none other than NOLA rap royalty DJ Mannie Fresh to keep the party going after the music on the main stage wraps Friday night. Look for the Deuce Pigalow tent and get ready to rage as the bounce beats give a little extra kick to the smoking meat.
Check out our Spotify playlist for Hogs 2015: