It’s Jazz Fest and there’s music and crawfish everywhere! Wednesday, we passed on the terrific and free concert of Eric McFadden, Jerry Joseph, Norwood Fisher, Eric Bolivar & Special Guests with Gravy at Wednesday at the Square. Instead we joined Billy Iuso and the Restless Natives (BIRN) behind The Sandpiper Lounge for the “1st Annual BIRNout Boil.” It was an intimate group (50 or so) partying on a lawn in front of some of our city’s finest musicians literally playing as a garage band.
Many in the crowd were from New York or California and had come in for Jazz Fest. One girl had been left in the city by her ride. She was from Nebraska and announced it was her first time in New Orleans. She certainly landed softly among a great group of people with a table full of crawfish. Chris “Shaggy” Davis supplied his signature spicy boiling skills and pounds of crawfish with corn, potatoes, garlic cloves and citrus slices. Many local restaurants have to tone down their spices to accommodate out-of-towner’s palates. Shaggy goes full-local – and everyone loved it.
There were plenty of musicians who sat in and Iuso’s teenage daughter, Aria, came onstage as well – as has become the norm. It’s fun to think that I’ve been watching her sing with her father for 4 years. Now another young one is joining in the fun and, honestly, he stole the show from all the other amazing guests. He may have been playing a toy guitar, but he played it with the big boys just like a pro. I was reminded of Friday at this year’s French Quarter Fest when I saw so many children performing with their parents. Some were actually singing or playing, some were only “playing,” but all of them were bravely facing audiences and taking on the family business. Beautiful.
Thursday, you can head to Jazz Fest for Flow Tribe, Soul Rebels, The String Cheese Incident and many, many more. Or you can head to Armstrong Park for the free Jazz in the Park concert series with Big Freedia the Queen Diva. There will be a second line parade, dancing from The Organ Grinders and much more as well as drum and dance workshops on the Congo Kids Stage. I’m positively jealous of the kids who’ll be learning Mardi Gras Indian chants from Big Chief David Montana with the young keepers of the flame and Treme Brass Band co-founder, Uncle Benny Jones, Sr.