Plan on being fashionably late to this year’s Jazz Fest? Think again. Here’s a great reason why you should show up bright and early to the festivities. Be sure to check out these 9 sweet bands that go on before 2 pm.
And in case you want to sleep in, you know the party will be going all night — check out L4LM’s 15 Best Events Surround New Orleans Jazz Festival!
1. Earphunk: 4/24 @ 11:20 am
The New Orleans born-and-bred quintet has a uniquely organic balance of heavy-pocket funk and reckless prog-driven guitar explosions, or “prog-funk”, as the band refers to it. Trust me, they will phunk you up. But just in case you oversleep, you can catch them at the Howlin’ Wolf on Thurs April 23rd.
2. Mia Borders: 4/24 @ 12:25 pm
Don’t feel like walking? Stay at the Gentilly stage after Earphunk for Mia Borders’ set. With her endlessly soulful voice, richly emotional songwriting, and undeniable style, Mia Borders embodies the spirit of her hometown, New Orleans, Louisiana. She is heralded locally and nationally as one of New Orleans’ best talents. Plus, who doesn’t love a little soul in the mornin’?
3. Honey Island Swamp Band: 4/24 @ 12:30 pm
Named after a very real swamp that lies near the border to Louisiana and Mississippi, the Honey Island Swamp Band is aptly named, with a roots sound that incorporates the best of both states, a swampy mix of blues, soul, country, R&B, and the New Orleans rhythms of the group’s hometown.
4. Mississippi Rail Company: 5/02 @ 11:15 am
Mississippi Rail Co is inspired by early New Orleans music with a fresh soulfulness to it; the sound seems familiar but the band’s repetitious, ear-catching melodies and blues-pop rhythms are quite new. The quartet understands showmanship, too. With an old-school sound comes an old-school dress code, and every member suits up for their live show. They are a sight to see!
5. Flow Tribe: 4/26 @ 11:20 am
These guys are the perfect warm up for the rest of the afternoon. Straight out of New Orleans and into your earholes, Flow Tribe comes at you with the delicacy of a sledgehammer. They create “backbone cracking music”, a soul shaking mixture of styles and sounds guaranteed to drive you wild. They are funky, they are rock & roll, and they are always, ALWAYS, a good time. You’ll be on your feet dancing in no time.
6. Sweet Crude: 4/26 @ 12:20 pm
Sweet Crude, a seven-piece ensemble that includes most of the local indie-rock group Glasgow, is full of such contrasts and binaries. What sets them apart from other young, indie rock bands is that their music is written partly in English, partly in Cajun French. Their tribal vibe and powerful stage presence will keep you very, very entertained.
7. Cardinal Sons: 5/02 @ 2:10 pm
I know, I know, they are playing at 2:10, which is technically past 2:00, but these guys are so great I had to add them on the list. Cardinal Sons are a trio comprised of brothers who bring a hard-rocking, alternative flair to the table. The brothers have become well-known in the New Orleans area for their bluesy, folk-like rock melodies and irresistibly catchy choruses. If you like groups like the Avett Brothers and the Shins, then you will definitely like these guys. Check out one of my favorites of theirs, “October Rolls”.
8. Anders Osborne: 5/03 @ 12:25 pm
Between the potency of his richly detailed songwriting, his intensely emotional, soulful vocals and his piercing, expert guitar work, New Orleans’ Anders Osborne is a true musical treasure. Guitar Player calls him “the poet laureate of Louisiana’s fertile roots music scene”. New Orleans Gambit recently honored Osborne as performer of the year. If you’ve never seen this guy perform, it’s about time you did.
9. The Revivalists: 4/25 @ 1:45 pm
Last but CERTAINLY, not least, are one of my favorite groups on this list. Now these guys are special, and if you don’t know em already you should check them out right this second. True to their name, The Revivalists lean more heavily on the older styles and warmer sounds of the golden age of rock ‘n roll, but the band isn’t afraid to dabble in electronics and sleight-of-studio when it’s right for the song. Their bombastic showmanship is the outgrowth of a desire to connect with audiences on a personal level, and that intimate connection is what elevates their shows above simple entertainment. Please do us all a favor and go see these guys. It’s always worth it.
— Katie Pearlman