Jan 5, 201708:00 AM
The sounds that move the Crescent City
The Return of the Carver Theater
Breathing new life into a legendary space
The Carver Theater
Next week will see the rebirth of the historic Carver Theater. The beautiful Tremé theater has been given a new life under the direction of general manager Chris Ritter and talent buyer Davis Rogan. The fully renovated space boasts a brilliant new sound and lighting build out that compliments the space without destroying the historic charm of the theater itself. Rogan has positioned the theater to be a preeminent venue for showcasing local musicians. The weekly shows will follow a relatively simple schedule with the Monday Night Blues Series, Mid Week Jazz on Wednesday and #ThirstyThursDAT Brass. These shows all happen relatively early by New Orleans standards, which makes them a great springboard to other events later in the evening or to bed depending on your disposition. In case you hadn’t guessed from the name, the Thursday night brass shows will feature the Dat Dog food truck along with drink specials. For the first five Saturdays in 2017 the theater will host their Saturday Showcase #AtTheCarver. This free series is a great chance to see some fantastic local music and get acquainted with the new space. The first of these shows is this Saturday (Jan. 7) and will serve to christen the revitalized theater. The first Showcase band is Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes. They will be accompanied by Waterseed.
Before the holidays I was able to pry Ritter and Rogan away from their work polishing the space long enough to sit down and chat a bit about their plans for the theater and how it will fit into the larger ecology of the neighborhood. The duo are well balanced with Davis’ experience in the local scene and Ritter’s lifetime of theater experience. Together they have the vision and practical knowledge to make a project of this scale succeed. Davis spoke of the venue as a proper theater, “Basically…It’s a theatre, doors at 7, 8 o’clock start time. Food truck for anybody who felt like grabbing a bite, 10 dollar cover is super reasonable, and music from 8 to midnight. Smoky Greenwell is doing a program of various blues artists on Monday. Wednesday, we're gonna have like the jazz bands that that you would typically see on Frenchmen Street. Thursday, we're gonna have the brass bands that you would see at the Maple Leaf or on Frenchmen Street. So Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, barring a national touring act or private event. And we're really gonna try and keep to this is going to be these nights of great local music.”
One of the great things about this team is that they see the Carver as not only supporting local musicians but also building a community that helps preserve and develop local culture throughout the neighborhood. I think Ritter summed up this community of mutual respect best, “If we establish [The Carver] as a premier venue for live music in New Orleans for both artists and audience members alike, then it's gonna grow exponentially in the months to come. And the more artists that play here, the more artists that are gonna want to play here, and the more people that see shows here, the more people who wanna see shows here because we respect, admire and compensate artists fairly and well. We execute our entertainment experience for our patrons immaculately...it’s just gonna be a premier destination for live music in New Orleans…we’re going through growing pains with it as you always do when you're birthin' a baby, but it's really growing in a fast easy pace. …It is such a natural fit with music in this neighborhood and this venue, it's easy…there's a lot of stuff falling into place so quickly that it's fun.”
Head out to The Carver Saturday night for the spiritual christening of the new space. You can find further info about all of their exciting plans at carvertheater.org
John Paul White at Gasa Gasa
On Friday night John Paul White will take the stage at Gasa in support of Beulah, his first solo record in over a decade. In this record, White, who was half of the critically acclaimed duo The Civil Wars, has returned to a more intimate style of songwriting that will appeal to new and old fans alike. This will be one of the best shows of the week.
To Do This Week
Friday night John Paul White will be at Gasa Gasa. Saturday, Dr. John will play the Bal Masque fundraiser at the Orpheum and the Lowdown Brass Band will play the Howlin’ Wolf Den. Sunday, Willie Nelson will be at the House of Blues. Monday catch Glen David Andrews at d.b.a. Wednesday night Mighty Brother will have their homecoming show at Gasa Gasa.
To Listen This Week
- Sleater-Kinney have announced a live record and shared the video for “Surface Envy” via Youtube
- The XX have shared another single from their new record via CoS
- London Grammar have a beautiful now single via Youtube