February is always a good month for music in New Orleans. The temperature generally starts to warm up a bit and Carnival kicks things into high gear. This year we have a series of outstanding performers coming through town throughout the month. One of the highlights will be Benjamin Clementine’s performance at One Eyed Jacks on the 27th. Clementine has released two of the great records of the last few years. His work combines intricate and personal poetry with a stunning vocal delivery. In October he released his sophomore album I Tell a Fly, which is a concept record that explores alienation from both literal and metaphorical perspectives.
I spoke with Clementine about his process and the creation of this new record and he addressed his own sense of being an outsider. “So, that is forever going to be there, so this record was really about what was coming from outside, and not what was coming from inside. I’m trying to understand what is going on around me by somehow creating characters,” he said.
On his last trip to the U.S., Clementine was issued a visa as an “Alien of Extraordinary Ability.” He took this status and ran with it. “Now, obviously, we live in a time where things are not so much in safe hands, and we’re being told, quite a lot of times, that there’s a surge of population of some people moving towards the West, for sometimes economic reasons, and other times for basic human rights. That sort of …added to the fact that I had a visa, called an alien visa, made it quite reasonable to somehow make music concerning that issue…that’s the inspiration I got when I started writing.” What really sets Clementine apart is his constant striving to move forward. He gets bored quickly and has no desire to stay in the same artistic mode for very long. With a quantum leap in theatricality between the first and second record we can only imagine what is in store for the third. This is going to be an unforgettable night of music, do everything you can to attend.
Playlist of mentioned bands available at: http://bit.ly/InTune2-18
Marco Benevento tickles the ivories at Blue Nile.
Maceo Parker funks up Tipitinas.
Feb. 10 & 12
Galactic celebrates Carnival at Tipitinas.
Shovels and Rope brings the folk back to Tips.
St. Vincent will shred The Civic.
Diet Cig will rock the Hi-Ho.
Dead and Company jam at the Smoothie King Center.
Gramatik will groove the Joy.
Dates are subject to change; email Mike@MyNewOrleans.com or contact him through Twitter @Minima.