For those of us who grew up in New Orleans, Fats Domino was simply an indelible fact of life. Before I understood who Fats was or even that music was made by human beings (rather than a gift from some benevolent force), Fats’ songs lived in my heart. These songs are the aural expression of the emotional exuberance of the city. They sound like birthday parties and barbecues, second lines and sock hops; they sound like carnival. But these songs are not cliche. They are not cloying. They are not gimmicks that get trotted out for a week each year and then forgotten. Fats’ strength was capturing the rhythm of New Orleans—that open, tolerant, welcoming joy that flourishes here. Even in a track like “Ain’t That a Shame” you can hear this joy in Fats’ voice. His work is eternally optimistic. It is as though the songs say, “things may be bad now but look at this magnificent thing we are all connected to.” This sentiment is Fats for me. I had the good fortune to see his last show at Tips in 2007 and this was the realization that crashed in on me during that performance. If Allen Toussaint was the heart of New Orleans, Fats Domino was certainly its joy.
LCD Soundsystem at Voodoo
There were a number of remarkable performances at Voodoo Fest this year. The festival organizers have dialed in the new space, and we are entering a new era for Voodoo. The festival grounds feel full without ever really feeling crowded. There is plenty to explore but everything is relatively near at hand. The festival grounds just feel more comfortable than they have at any past locations. In addition to finding their way in terms of the space, the festival organizers also put together an excellent program of music. The lineup was carefully curated, did not attempt to cram too much into the weekend and had a little bit of something for everyone. My highlight of the weekend was easily the Friday night performance by the reformed LCD Soundsystem. This was a show that I saw last year at Bonnaroo but has benefitted supremely by a year on the road and the release of excellent new material. Their new record American Dream is one of the great albums of the year. Even though they only performed “Tonite” and “Emotional Haircut” from the new tracks, it would seem that the production of new material has revitalized the whole enterprise. For his part James Murphy has never sounded better. His voice was clear and devilishly playful as he directed the construction of the complex sonic landscapes LCD is known for. Once again in praise to Voodoo, the sound for this set was exemplary—clear and loud without being overpowering—it complimented the supreme efforts of the band. Once in a while everything lines up for a great performance and Voodoo has recently excelled at creating these moments. Check out the LCD gallery below also another gallery of Voodoo.
To Do This Week
Tomorrow check out Boudin, Bourbon and Beer at Champions Square or Anarbor at Gasa. Saturday Iron and Wine is at the Joy. Monday the Bad Suns play One Eyed Jacks and Saint Motel is at Tips. Wednesday you should check out Ariel Pink at Tips.
To Listen This Week
- Feist covers “The Stranger” in tribute to Gord Downie via CoS
- Kevin Morby and Waxahatchee cover The Velvet Underground’s “After Hours” via Tumblr
- Ezra Furman has announced a new record and release a stellar new single via Soundcloud