Those folks brave enough to confront their post-independence day hangovers and go out Monday night found a supremely quiet French Quarter. With Essence over and the July tourism slump in full effect, the Quarter felt more intimate than it has in a while. An open parking space at the corner of Conti and Chartres is a miracle under any conditions. The show that drug us from our recoveries was the combination of EZTV and Jacco Gardner. These bands have both managed to reach back to the roots of psychedelic rock and bring that sensibility into the contemporary scene. Despite the small crowd, both bands gave enthusiastic performances. EZTV opened with a short tight set of songs from their album Calling Out which will be released tomorrow. I have been living with this record for the past couple of week and there is a lot of good stuff here. There is a lilting confidence to the tracks that is reminiscent of British post-punk but the whole thing is firmly grounded in the wonderfully meandering guitar work.
After EZTV, Jacco Gardner and his band took the stage. Gardner has just released his most recent record Hypnophobia and Monday night many of those songs were on display. When you see Gardner live, you become aware of the full breadth of his musical abilities. At one point, he was playing guitar, modulating a keyboard with a foot pedal and keep percussive time alternating between tambourine and shaker simultaneously. Despite his diminutive stature and tendency to hide behind his hair, Gardner is a profound presence on stage. His baroque sense of pop has this wonderful swell that it develops both within the songs and among the tracks. This outstanding harmony among instruments and vocals is amplified by his live performances. Look out for Gardner when he returns to town.
To Do This Week
Tonight Nicholas Payton will be sitting in with Johnny Vidacovich at the Maple Leaf. Also tonight, The Secret Sisters are at Gasa Gasa. It is the weekend of Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood with shows on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On Wednesday the hip hop industrialists Death Grips will be at One Eyed Jacks.
To Listen This Week
- All female surf-rock ensemble La Luz have released a new track.
- The board audio from one of the final Grateful Dead shows over the weekend is available via CoS.
- The Nina Simone tribute album featuring Ms. Lauryn Hill, Usher, Mary J. Blige and others is streaming over at NPR