This year the Essence Festival turns 25 and the organizers have pulled out all the stops to celebrate. The music kicks off Friday evening with a remembrance of Aretha Franklin and a tribute to Patti Labelle featuring Brandy, Doug E. Fresh, Ledisi, MC Lyte, Morris Day and Sheila E. The evening continues with a headlining set from Missy Elliott. On Saturday Nas sets the stage for an interview with Michelle Obama before Mary J. Blige takes the late night set. Sunday Big Freedia and Mannie Fresh kick things off and are followed a little later by The Legends of Music Presented by: Teddy Riley featuring Pharrell Williams, Timbaland, Teyana Taylor, MAJOR, Ro James and more. The festival is closed out by Maze featuring Frankie Beverly with a tribute performance by Anthony Hamilton. This year the festival has also organized a series of after parties called Essence After Dark for more details check out their site.
Charly Bliss Saturday Night at Gasa Gasa
Tomorrow night, Brooklyn-based power pop ensemble Charly Bliss will roll into Gasa Gasa. Their debut record appropriately titled Guppy was a great throwback to the late 90s pop sound and one of my favorite records of that year. The group has just released their excellent followup – Young Enough – which while more polished continues in a similar fashion. This will be one of the great shows of the summer.
Charlie Gras at Preservation Hall Tuesday
Tuesday night Preservation Hall celebrates the 87th birthday of Charlie Gabriel – legend of both the saxophone and clarinet. According to Ben Jaffe of Preservation Hall, “Charlie Gabriel embodies everything that we are about at Preservation Hall. His family has been creating and performing New Orleans music for over 150 years. Not only has he carried that torch, but he has been passionate about passing on what he knows to the next generation of musicians.”
Gabriel is currently the Musical Director of Preservation Hall Foundation. With the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, he has played at virtually every major performing arts center and festival in the world.
Sometimes you have the good fortune of catching a band at a moment when they are so much bigger than the gig they are currently on. *Repeat Repeat had a moment like that last week at Gasa Gasa. As good as these folks are in the studio, their live show is mesmerizing. Jared and Kristyn Corder are positively dynamic together. Their show is tight, playful and insanely energetic. Jared was engaged with the audience, out in the crowd and playing from the top of the bar. Next time you see this group they’ll be holding down a theater for sure.
Also Happening This Week
Tonight, the Panorama Jazz Band is at Dos Jefes and the Shannon Powell Jazz Quartet is at The Jazz Playhouse while Alex McMurray is at the SideBar. The Free Friday show at Tipitina’s is Wolfman Washington and the Roadmasters. Tomorrow, Rakim is at Tipitina’s and Charly Bliss are at Gasa Gasa. Sunday, Wolfman Washington is at Dmac’s and Big Freedia plays Republic with The Soul Rebels and special guests. Monday, Reel Big Fish are at the Joy. Tuesday, the Treme Brass Band are at d.b.a. while A Place Beyond Giants plays Gasa Gasa. Wednesday, Dylan Leblanc is at One Eyed Jacks. Thursday, Wand is at Gasa Gasa and The Soul Rebels are at Le Bon Temps.
To Listen This Week
- New track and album announcement from The Hives
- Fantastic new track from Belle and Sebastian
- Great new track from Ty Segall via CoS