As the summer reaches its height in New Orleans, the music scene quiets down a bit, but there is still a surprisingly wide array of things to do. The month begins with Satchmo Summerfest. After a stint in Jackson Square, the festival is returning to the Mint and partnering with the newly opened Jazz Museum at that site. I love this festival, as it focuses exclusively on the music of New Orleans. The Sunday morning Jazz Mass and Sunday evening Trumpet Tribute are among the highlights of the event. This year the festival runs from August 4-6 and kicks off with a reception at the Omni Royal Orleans. The lineup includes Kermit Ruffins, Topsy Chapman, Nicholas Payton and more.
If you’re looking to catch some legends without exposure to the August heat, there are a couple of great shows coming to the Smoothie King Center. On August 3, James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt come to town. Usually I’ll avoid large stadium shows but this pairing is just too good to miss. A few nights later, on the 6th, Lionel Richie will play the same venue. If you missed Richie’s rather wet set at Jazz Fest a few years back, this is a great chance to see him in a more controlled environment.
For something a little more intimate on the singer/songwriter front, Adam Torres will be at Gasa Gasa on August 3rd. The Austin based Torres released the excellent Pearls to Swine last year and the outstanding EP I Came to Sing the Song was released in February. This will be a great chance to see him up close. There is a quiet elegance to Torres’ playing that will suit Gasa well. Local indie darlings Sweet Crude will host a two night stand at Gasa Gasa on the 4th and 5th.
With the national concert scene a bit quiet, it’s a great time to catch up on the local scene. First off, the most innovative cat in New Orleans right now, Nicholas Payton will have his Trio at the Prime Example on August 5th (he will also be at Satchmo Summer Fest). The Tipitina’s Free Fridays Concert Series continues this month with The IKO Allstars on the 4th, Gravity A on the 11th, Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes on the 18th, and John “Papa” Gras on the 25th. These shows are fantastic and a great chance to visit an iconic New Orleans venue for free.
On the funkier side of things, guitarist and singer Mike Zito will take the stage at the Maple Leaf on the 4th. Zito is a co-founder of the Royal Southern Brotherhood, which features a fair number of Maple Leaf regulars. I would expect an exciting show.
On August 7 Waxahatchee will roll into One Eyed Jacks with Palehound in tow. This is an excellent pairing. Lead singer Katie Crutchfield will have her full band with her, rather than the bare bones version of Waxahatchee that come through town in May. Their new record Out in the Storm debuted in July and contains some of the best work Crutchfield and Co. have done to date. These songs are going to swell through the space with a full company of musicians.
Americana singer and Shreveport native Dylan LeBlanc will play One Eyed Jacks on the 12th. In a similar vein, the excellent country group Western Centuries will drop in at Siberia.
The outstanding Australian born and New York based pop singer Betty Who will be at Republic on August 21st. I had the pleasure of catching a stellar performance from Betty Who at Bonnaroo in 2015. If you’re in the mood to dance, this will be a great night for it.
The month ends with a couple of heavier shows at Siberia. On the 27th, Midnight Ghost Train will bring their insanely energetic southern metal to the stage. Finally Inter Arma will close out the month with their grungy sludge rock on the 31st.
Even with the heat, there are a ton of things to do this month. Get out and see some great music.
Note: Dates are subject to change. Playlist of mentioned bands available at: http://bit.ly/InTune8-17
email Mike@MyNewOrleans.com or contact him through Twitter @Minima.