May is always an outstanding month for music in New Orleans. This year it opens with the quite epic second weekend of Jazz Fest and closes with local appearances from some unbelievable performers—with stops along the way for the Bayou Booglaoo and Hangout Fest just down the shore.
There are some legitimate musical legends in town this month. At Jazz Fest alone you can see Tom Jones (5/2), Diana Ross (5/4) and John Prine (5/4) all in the second weekend. That weekend also features appearances from festival stalwarts such as Dave Matthews Band, Jimmy Buffett, Galactic and Kamasi Washington.
The legends continue with a two-night stand by the Foo Fighters at the Fillmore on the 15th and 16th. The Foos have a strong connection to New Orleans and it’s excellent that they are returning to celebrate the Fillmore’s opening months.
Don’t wear yourself out too much at the Fillmore, as the next night Lynyrd Skynrd are at the Smoothie King Center with Hank Williams Jr. The Arena remains the place to be with back to back appearances from Paul McCartney (23rd) and Ariana Grande (25th) to close out the month. This is truly an astounding run of performances. No matter who you are, you’re probably going to want to catch at least one of these enduring legends this time through.
With all the excitement over the big names heading to town, don’t forget about the local legends that make events like Bayou Boogaloo sing. This year, the festival returns to its home on Bayou St. John on the weekend of the 17th. Over the course of the three-day event you’ll be able to catch a ton of great local music including: Tab Benoit, Amanda Shaw, Raw Oyster Cult, Morning 40 Federation and so many more. I love this festival. Not only does it have a great vibe, despite its growth in popularity over the years, it still feels like a neighborhood gathering.
If you are anxious to get out of town for a bit, don’t forget that Hangout Fest in Gulf Shores on the weekend of the 17th. This year they have brought Travis Scott, Vampire Weekend, The 1975, Cardi B, Hozier and GRiZ among many more to the beach. This is one of the highlights of the regional festival season. The proximity of Gulf Shores makes this a safe bet for a quick vacation on the beach. Plus, unlike many festivals, Hangout comes with a ton of great restaurants and attractions close at hand.
The Radiators jam at The Civic.
Shakey Graves rocks The Joy.
The Claypool Lennon Delirium jams at The Civic.
Big Freedia and Boyfriend move Republic.
George Porter Jr. and Skerik jam at One Eyed Jacks.
The Cult rocks The Fillmore.
Jim James jams at The Joy.
Mr. Twin Sister dreams at Gasa Gasa.
Lucy Dacus and Mothers weave tales at One Eyed Jacks.
Garbage rocks The Fillmore.
Deer Tick rocks One Eyed Jacks.
Playlist of mentioned bands available at: http://bit.ly/InTune5-19
Dates are subject to change; email Mike@MyNewOrleans.com or contact him through Twitter @Minima.