Another Mardi Gras in the Books
For somewhat obvious reasons, the first week of Lent is always a bit slow in New Orleans. The excess and splendor of Carnival seem to be the perfect prelude to a period of quiet contemplation (at least until we reach the pull of St. Patrick’s day). One of the things that always strikes me about Mardi Gras is the sheer amount of aural stimulation that accompanies it. No matter where in the city one finds oneself, there is a constant cacophony of merriment—music, sirens, bands, boom boxes, trash collection and so forth. It is the sound of a city operating at full capacity. Mardi Gras is a demonstration of our great capabilities for organization, efficiency and tolerance. I can think of no other place where such a large group of people works so diligently in order to subvert everything they work so hard to maintain the rest of the year. One of the most interesting parts of this whole experience is the wonderful contrast between the regimented order of the bands and the mayhem that surrounds them both on the floats and among the crowd. From above, the marching bands are these little pockets of order in the larger din of Mardi Gras. Think about the view from the street. The crowd surges from the curb around the passing float and is then driven back again by parents protecting the formation of the approaching band. The spectators press back from the road as the ranks of players march by (hopefully in full song). As soon as the tubas are clear, the press sighs back into the street to meet the next float. It is a wonderful ballet that is one of the fundamental rhythms of Mardi Gras—press, surge, repeat. This same beat is evident at every level of Carnival. The routes surge with revelers for a few hours and then retreat back into the city. Houses are invaded by visitors of increasingly dubious relationship to the host only to find themselves empty once again. It is the press of Mardi Gras that makes its arrival so exciting and its departure such a relief. As we watch the excitement of the last couple of weeks recede, take some time to unwind and feel the absence of that rush. It is the quiet that makes the symphony that much more profound.
To Do This Week
Tonight check out Valerie June at Republic. Tomorrow, The Staves are at Gasa Gasa. Saturday the amazing Captured by Robots will play at Siberia and Marco Benevento will be at NOLA Brewing for their 8th anniversary party. Sunday check out Deafheaven with Emma Ruth Rundle and This Will Destroy You at Republic. Wednesday Son Volt will be at the Parish at the House of Blues.
To Listen This Week
- New track from Dave Davies and his son via Soundcloud
- Amazing Talking Heads cover from the Japandroids via Youtube
- New track from The Shins via CoS