Another Wednesday, another great free concert in Lafayette Square. The Harvest the Music concert started with a set from Alvin Youngblood Hart’s Muscle Theory. Known as a “musician’s musician,” Alvin Youngblood Hart was nominated for a Grammy in 2003 before winning one in 2004 for his work on Beautiful Dreamer: The songs of Stephen Foster. In 2006, he tutored Samuel L. Jackson for his part in Black Snake Moan and recorded a soundtrack duet with Christina Ricci. A country blues star, he’s been lauded by Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton. A highlight of the band’s set was when Radiators guitarist, Dave Malone, joined in for a rendition of Come Together.
During the break, I sampled some more of the fun festival food. I felt compelled to go back to Squeal for another bowl of Pulled Pork over Roasted Corn Cheese Grits ($6). Yum. I also tried a bite of the Santa Fe Chicken Wrap from Lucy’s Retired Surfer’s Bar (full size – $6). Pretty darn tasty. Then a few bites of Stuffed Crab Po-Boy from Lil Dizzy’s ($8). The overstuffed Po-Boy was a savory treat, complete with the occasional shell to let you know it’s real crab meat. I washed it all down with an all-natural fresh watermelon juice sno-ball from Beaucoup Juice Snoballs ($4) and an Abita beer ($4). The Harvest the Music concert series benefits Second Harvest Food Bank, so it was more than just a meal fit for a NOLA queen and a couple of her friends, with each dollar spent feeding a family of 4, our meal fed 28 families of 4 one meal.
Returning from the road, Bonerama seemed happy to be taking the stage back in New Orleans. Twisting the brass band tradition, the band is fronted by 3 trombonists. Two of them, Mark Mullins and Craig Klein, both played with Harry Connick’s band from 1990 until they branched off in 1998. The band has since filled out but still eschews trumpets and saxophones.
Known for their ability to reinterpret guitars and other instruments through their trombones, it was apparently Mullins who brought in their now signature idea of covering rock classics by Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, the Allman Brothers and Black Sabbath.
Their rock-infused rendition of Mardi Gras Indian classic, Indian Red, was haunting. The cover of I Like it Like That was fun and feisty. But it was their version of the Allman Brothers’ Whipping Post that really swept me away. I enjoyed the sampler-like set list the band chose for the evening that included some of the Radiators’ hits featuring Dave Malone, but I’m a sucker for those trombone bending rock covers. Mark Mullins sat in with the Radiators so many times, he was known as the “6th Rad,” so I’m sure Malone enjoyed turning the tables. They plan to play together again at this year’s Voodoo Fest.
Walking to the Square, the weather had shifted from hot and humid to windy with sparse sprinkles. During the concert, occasional thunder claps and flashes of far-away lightning added to the drama of the stage show. It seemed even the weather loves music in this city because the rain didn’t come down until the last song and was cleared up by the time we all reached home.
Don’t miss next week’s free concert featuring NOLA diva, Irma Thomas.