The Nigel Hall Experience kicked off the 2016 Jazz Fest late night season with a bang last night, playing at the New Orleans’ famed venue The Howlin’ Wolf with a strong set of funk and soul. The band got some very special guests throughout the night, including Terrence Higgins and the legendary Warren Haynes.

Hall put together a special backing band of his regulars and in-town friends to help him get the party started, including Derwin “Big D” Perkins on guitar, Donnie Sundal on keys, Eric Vogel on bass, Jamison Ross on drums, Weedie Braimah on percussion, Brad Walker on sax and Eric “Benny” Bloom from Lettuce on trumpet. With that amount of firepower on his side, Hall was free to take some chances and use his powerfully soulful voice and keyboard wizardry to get the packed crowd bogeying up a storm.

Mixing tracks from his recent debut solo record and a variety of other favorites, Hall and company took the time to stretch out and let each song develop into well-rounded, funky affairs. The buzz around the room was that a special guest was on the way, and a conspicuously open area onstage with a lone amp sitting unused had folks wondering if the rumors were true.  When Hall introduced his “Uncle,” Warren Haynes, the club exploded in cheers and applause.

Watch exclusive video of Haynes and Higgins jamming “Chariot” from Terence Higgins’ album Rage Til Sunrise, with The Nigel Hall Experience, below:

Thanks to a combination of the incredible talent that comes to town and the spirit of New Orleans itself Jazz Fest always seems to bring out the best in artists. Nigel Hall and the audience were all swept up an the inescapable wave of funk that left everyone in the room exhausted, but ready for more.  Luckily, there’s ten full days of musical mayhem to come.

Setlist: Nigel Hall Band at the Howlin’ Wolf, New Orleans, LA – 4/21/16

Set: Don’t Change, Gimmie A Sign, Ain’t It Funky Now, Running Away, I Can’t Stand The Rain, Before I Let Go, Too Sweet, Chariot*, Forever Always For Love, Luther, Never Gonna Let You Go, Can’t Hide Love, Back In Stride, Golden Time, Lay Away

* = w/ Warren Haynes and Terrence Higgins

Boukou Groove, made up of members of Nigel Hall’s backing band, opened the night up with a funky set of bluesy covers featuring some impressive guitar chops from Derwin Perkins.

You never know what’s going to happen at an L4LM show! Take a look at our full Jazz Fest schedule to plan out your next late night rager!