Just got back from New Orleans

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by vegaas, Jan 31, 2005.

  1. vegaas


    Nov 6, 2001
    I had a great time!
    I checked out the various bands playing on and off Bourbon St. It was interesting.
    First, why the hell do they have rock bands playing on Bourbon St? Thats not what you go down there to see. That was a bit of a disappointment.
    As for the actual blues and jazz bands I saw, they were great.
    The two that really stood out to me were "The All Purpose Blues Band" and "Big Al Carson and the Blues Masters".

    I saw A.P.B.B. at Club 544 on Bourbon. They just seem to be having a blast up there. They joke around alot, and the fun they are having is infectious and really comes through when they are playing. Their main singer Big Willie is something else. Very engaging front man.

    As for Big Al and the Blues Masters. I saw them at the Funky Pirate on Bourbon. Big Al has great voice and knows how to interact with the crowd. The musicians that make up the Blues Masters are top notch.

    If you ever get down to New Orleans I highly recommend checking these two bands out. I got a chance to talk both bass players, and I am thinking of sending them some questions about what its like being a full time musician on Bourbon. If I do, I will submit it here to see if Paul can post it as an article for us. I think there would be some very cool insight for us.

    By the way, I was wearing my TB hoodie and both bass players commented on it. I of course gave a plug for TB. Who knows, maybe will get some new members?

    Anyway, these two bands get the Vegaas seal of approval. And I dont think all the Hurricanes and Hand Gernades I was drinking had any influence on my perception of these bands. ;)
  2. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    I love New Orleans.

    Every day is like Thanksgiving, and every night is like New Years Eve.
  3. I lived in New Orleans for about 3 months last year. I couldn't get outta there fast enough.

    First of all, all the gigs on Bourbon are pretty much locked down - Big Al is about the only act at the FP, and that goes for a lot of the clubs on Bourbon. I was also surprised to find lots of rock cover bands.

    If you make $60 a night in NOLA as a musician, that's pretty good.

    I'm guessing you missed Frenchmen St. which is where a majority of the good local blues and jazz happens.

    There's a lot of unreliable musicians in NOLA, you might be able to take advantage of that. One drummer I know peeked his head in a club while the band was setting up, and he asked 'where's the drummer?' They answered, go get your kit, you're the new drummer!

    It's a cool place to visit, but I hated living there. The weather, the crime, poverty, filthy dirty, etc. I really wanted to like the place, but couldn't.
  4. DougP


    Sep 4, 2001
    i had many of the same complaints when i lived there for three years. but the music scene is a blast, the culture there thrives off of music and i really really miss that. i think Jive1 described very accurately as well. its always a party!

  5. Because Bourbon St. is where all the kids go to get slammed and take off their clothes. Your average "customer" on Bourbon St. is looking for a bar to get drunk at, not locate the best music... especially during Mardi Gras.

    I haven't had enough time (I've had one child since I moved here, and another on the way) to tell you where the better music is at, but I'm glad you were able to find some that you enjoyed.

    Addressing another post: This city is dirty for 2 reasons.
    1) Everyone that visits thinks this is a dumping ground. They come out here, have a great time, and leave everything they use on the street. Apparently, common courtesy, politeness, basic standards of public behaviour, etc, do not apply when you enter the city limits.

    2) The city government doesn't care enough to make sure it's cleaned up.

    The city has to walk a tight rope with its income. Tourism is the largest source...and doing anything that could hamper that (like cracking down too hard during Mardi Gras) could cause a huge problem.

    Just my thoughts.

  6. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    I don't know about what you heard, but I got really, really tired of the freaking Zydeco music blasting from everywhere when I went to Bourbon St.

    No amount of Hand Grenades could soothe the headache that music gives me. :D
  7. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    Hmm...I used to PLAY at the 544 Club!


    ....that was a few years back ('98-'99), of course.

    I wonder if the APBB is any of my old bandmates...

    ....Pete is right, it's a tough city in some ways, but so is dep, it's a pretty thriving scene, although it's TOUGH to make a living at it there. Mike's got the idea, don't live IN the city, head across Lake Pontchatrain, hit the city for work/fun, the Northshore is still pretty liveable. I get over that way a bit still, my family is in the same town Mike's in, Slidell.

    Sometimes, I miss that scene, but it don't take long before I remember all of the negatives and realize that I'm happier here.
  8. vegaas


    Nov 6, 2001
    I had a feeling Gard would have some input on this. How often did you play at Club 544? I think that has to be a heck of a job if you can get it.
  9. I'll be headed down for Jazzfest this year. I'd love to be there for Mardi Gras, but just can't swing it this year. New Orleans is a great music city, but most of the really great music is not played on Bourbon Street.

    I look at www.pollstar.com almost every week just to see who I am missing. Check out www.louisianamusicfactory.com and www.wwoz.com for some great New Orleans-related music.
  10. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    I actually was in the house band that played Mon-Thurs, and the "early" set on Saturdays. I was there for just over a year, and it was an interesting gig, although after a few months, it got to be a bit of a grind. I eventually left to take a gig with a band that played 2-3 nights a week at frat/sorority parties all over the southeast, I made more money in a NIGHT than I did in a WEEK in the 'Quarter.

    I referred to my time at the 544 as "Musical Bootcamp". I probably was at my best as a player during that time. However, the compensation for the effort expended was just not even close to reasonable.

    Can't say I miss it much, honestly...
  11. I sat in at the 544. You can go pretty much anywhere and sit in if you can play, but I passed out a million cards/demos when I was there and only got 2 calls.

    There are jams at the Funky Butt (Mon?), Deckbar Lounge (Wed), and Turtle Lounge (Thurs - Metairie) that I know of.
  12. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I lived in New Orleans for 5 years. Bourbon St. is for tourists period. Also, the gigs down there are NOT locked down at all - turnover for musicians is very high. Most guys make about $100 a night, some more - but you have to play long sets of rock songs that the (drunken) tourists want to hear. Not a dream gig.

    I think my favorite thing about New Orleans is that you either get it or you don't. People love it or hate it. I for one have missed living there - something about it just felt like home. I've been gone for a year and I still think about that place every day.
  13. I'm gonna echo Benjamin's sentiments. My previous post may have come across as a bit hostile, but I really enjoy living in the area. I felt more at home in the first few months I lived here than I did in the 20+ years in East Texas.

  14. Stephen Soto

    Stephen Soto

    Oct 12, 2003
    I want to ****ing go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, :D.
  15. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    Mike, I agree...but you live on the Northshore, where life is at least somewhat sane on a daily basis. Man, there's NO WAY I'd live IN the city.

    I love getting back to visit, but that's the most I think I'd ever want again. I'm pretty much done with Lousy-ana for a place to live.