April is usually the best time of year for music in New Orleans. The weather finally turns around and festival season starts in earnest. The radiant energy of French Quarter Fest and Jazz Fest draw artists from all over the world to our clubs. This month, we have several legends stopping through town outside of festival gigs.
April begins with the return of Radiohead to New Orleans for the first time since their 2003 stop on the Hail to the Thief tour. They continue to be one of the most influential bands in the world. Tickets went fast, but there are still a few available on the secondary market. Just be careful, as there are a lot of fakes out there.
Speaking of legends, on April 11, Diamanda Galás, the avant-garde soprano, will arrive at the Joy Theater. Galás is a true musical genius who continually pushes the boundaries of possibility with her work. Recently, she has been remastering and reworking some of her early material, so one can expect to hear a wide range of her talent over the course of the evening.
Continuing in the legends category, Bob Weir will be at the Saenger Theater on April 18. Weir is, of course, most well known as a founding member of the Grateful Dead, but has spent his lifetime creating outstanding psychedelic rock. This show will be a bit more intimate than the stadium and festival shows Weir often plays.
Finally, the legendary Meters will return to the Orpheum for a reunion show on April 29. This will be the second year that the Meters and friends have made a home at the Orpheum for the first weekend of Jazz Fest. If you missed last year’s performance, don’t make the same mistake this year.
In addition, on April 6, Jersey-based rockers Real Estate will be at Republic, along with Mary Lattimore. They will be followed by the excellent psychedelic sounds of All Them Witches on the 8th at Gasa Gasa. Continuing in the rock vein, the Drive-By Truckers will headline at Tipitina’s on April 14.
Portugal. The Man will return to town on April 13 for a show at the Joy. The group have reportedly finished their most recent record, so hopefully we’ll hear something new from them this time around. This show will be followed closely by Foxygen at One Eyed Jacks on the 17th. They just released the excellent new record Hang in January. Foxygen are known for their unpredictable and high energy live shows. The band has been on a streak of excellent records since 2013’s We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic. You won’t want to miss this show.
There are also a couple of excellent shows to look forward to during the first weekend of Jazz Fest. On April 27, Sinkane will return to town for a headlining set at Gasa Gasa. This will be one of the great shows of this year. The following night, on the 28th, Red Baraat will also appear at Gasa Gasa, bringing a new spin to the world of brass music. For aficionados of the local scene, these Brooklynites have a trick or two up their sleeve.
Note: Dates are subject to change. Playlist of mentioned bands available at: bit.ly/InTune4-17
This month features French Quarter Fest running April 6-9, and Jazz Fest starting on the 28th. As usual, both festivals have more talent than we can possibly list here. I like French Quarter Fest for its intense focus on local talent, while Jazz Fest combines the music of New Orleans with the music of the world. Together these two events make April the center of our musical year. Keep an eye on the website for daily recommendations for both festivals, as well as tips on what to eat and the best shopping.
To contact Mike about music news, upcoming performances and recordings, email Mike@MyNewOrleans.com or contact him through Twitter @Minima.