After being cancelled for weather last week, YLC’s Wednesday at the Square was back with Bonerama and Bucktown All-Stars. Organized by the Young Leadership Council (YLC), proceeds from food and beverage sales go back into the non-profit to benefit the community. Bucktown All-Stars is a party band specializing in covers of 60’s R&B, 70’s funk and New Orleans’ standards. Formed in 1992, the band includes honorary member, Joyce La Nasa, an 85 year old woman who began playing percussion in 2005. Her daughters were fans and brought her to a show. She kept coming – playing tambourine beside the stage at the bands’ gigs until they finally invited her onstage.
The band’s set included Barry White, the Black Crowes, Chicago (which is a perfect fit) and Prince’s Purple Rain. We all sang along. Even the police seemed to know all the words to all the songs and belted them along with us. But the highlight was when the horn section and Miss Joyce paraded through the crowd.
During the break, I had a Saucy’s Cajun Carolina Poboy ($7). The name was a bit confusing since it was basically a cochon de lait – pulled pork with cole slaw. I shared my mealtime with some wonderful women, 3 who’d lived here a year and a fourth who was in town from Virginia and had stumbled onto the festivities. And I ran into several friends including children’s author Cornell Landry and my TV-husband from HBO’s Treme, Rob Steinberg. No matter what part of our culture you’re talking about, it’s the people who make this place magical and Wednesday at the Square has introduced me to or reunited me with many great people over the years. It’s like an awesome block party.
Bonerama has been one of my favorite local bands since I first saw them at Oyster Fest 2010 when they hit the BP oil spill head-on with amazing renditions of Led Zeppelin’s When the Levee Breaks and a reworded version of Down by the Riverside.
The band played new Orleans standards then broke out the Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. Named for their 3 lead trombones, Bonerama is at their best when they take on guitar solos. The woman from Virginia didn’t believe me when I told her the guitar solo we were listening to was actually trombones until we made our way to the stage and she saw it with her own eyes. The crowd also loved the original, Mr. Okra, an ode to our favorite local grocer.
If you want to understand why our city is so ridiculously rich in musical talent, you need look no further than that stage in Lafayette Square. As often happens, some of the band’s children joined them onstage. Mark Mullins’ son Michael added another trombone to the mix then bassist and sousaphone player Matt Perrine’s son Ben joined on guitar as we all sang along to Zep’s Good Times Bad Times. That kind of apprenticeship and training has been going on for generations here – as it has with our food, our parades, our dances and so much more. I love my city.
See Bonerama do an evening of Led Zeppelin at Tipitina’s this Saturday!