This year, July is the month of legends. It is crazy how many huge tours are rolling through town. We begin with a double shot of outstanding music events. First and foremost, Essence Fest continues its unprecedented streak of amazing artists. This year the event boasts Diana Ross, John Legend, Mary J. Blige, Chance the Rapper, Chaka Khan, Solange and Jill Scott, to name just a few. Chance’s set was hands down the best thing I saw at Hangout Fest this year; you won’t want to miss him at the Dome. The festival runs through July 2, so there is plenty to see.
On Saturday (the 1st) Legendary Texas guitarist Alejandro Escovedo will be at Chickie Wah Wah. By all account Escovedo and company have been positively tearing it up this tour with a return to a fuzzy garage aesthetic. This should sound amazing in Chickie Wah Wah.
Just a week later on July 8, Roger Waters will bring his Us + Them tour to the Smoothie King Center. This show has been described as a combination of Pink Floyd material with Waters’ solo projects. The excellent ladies of Lucius are joining him as part of the backup ensemble.
If that’s not enough the very next night, July 9, one of the godfathers of drum and bass, Roni Size will be at the Dragon’s Den. This is a huge addition to the Den’s ongoing Sunday evening Church series.
Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals
Once again Jazz Fest’s older siblings kick off the last weekend in July at the beautiful Fort Adams State Park in Rhode Island. As usual the Folk Festival precedes the Jazz Festival. Both events have absurdly excellent line-ups, as usual. This year, Folk is headlined by a Fleet Foxes reunion, Wilco and John Prine. You can also catch Offa Rex, which consists of The Decemberists with British folk singer Olivia Chaney. The line-up runs deep this year with folks like Angel Olsen, Hurray for the Riff Raff and Whitney making appearances as well. The next weekend, see the likes of Bela Fleck and The Flecktones, Snarky Puppy and The Roots topping what has to be one of the best Jazz line-ups in years. Take the initiative to head up and visit these amazing festivals. The setting is idyllic and the lobster is marvelous. Not to mention that the New England weather is a great break from the late July heat.
The Free Friday series at Tipitina’s continues this month with The New Orleans Suspects and John Mooney on the 7th, Brass-a-Holics and Motel Radio on the 14th, Walter “Wolfman” Washington on the 21st and Rory Danger & The Danger Dangers with Khris Royal & Dark Matter on the 28th. This is a wonderful series of local bands playing in one of the city’s most legendary venues.
If you’re looking for something a bit darker, on the July 15 Crowbar will be at Southport Hall. Crowbar were part of the original New Orleans sludge metal scene of the early 90s and have retained the excellent aesthetic of that movement.
On the lighter side, Rooney will be at Gasa Gasa that same night (15th). Robert Schwartzman’s power pop project has been reborn with a new line-up and record. Drop in if you’re looking to dance.
For the Broadway fans out there, the incomparable Tony winner Idina Menzel will be at the Saenger Theater on the 25th.
There are a lot of heavy hitters coming through town this month. Take the chance to head out and catch some truly outstanding music.
email Mike@MyNewOrleans.com or contact him through Twitter @Minima.