Collision Conference lands between Jazz Fest weekends. And those weekdays are, in their own right, a lagniappe for music lovers. Catch some of the best shows in town without setting one foot on the fairgrounds. Here’s your guide to getting away from the convention center and seeing the best that Model Content's hometown has to offer.
First of all, apologies for the spelling errors. Your blogger is listening to Geno Delafose, and it's hard to type and dance at the same time.
Monday, April 30
Pre-Happy Hour: At 3pm, stop by NOLA Crawfish Fest (Central City) for the first act, funk band Dr. Klaw, and learn to eat a mudbug. Don’t feel bad for leaving before Ivan Neville hits the stage. You’ll get another chance.
6:30pm - The Music Box Village (Bywater) is a smattering of treehouse-like musical installations that come alive when you pull, jump, and bang on them. Throw in a band, and it's an immersive show. What The Residents will do with this space is impossible to predict.
Afterwards, gently process the experience at the Sea Cave Arcade. This womb-like Bywater storefront offers arcade machines hacked to play any game you can think of. For a $5 donation, play all night with no coins. It’s like an arcade birthday, but your adult drink will simultaneously remind you and help you forget that you’re no longer a kid.
Late night: John Medeski of Medeski, Martin, and Wood will stay busy all week in various lineups. But this night is special because at 1:30am, he’ll take the stage at One Eyed Jacks (French Quarter) with Prince-collaborator MonoNeon—whose Instagram is an absolute treasure.
Tuesday, May 1
Happy Hour: Music is the best souvenir. And with free shows all day, The Louisiana Music Factory (Marigny) is the place to shop. Tuesday’s Factory Fest lineup is especially tempting, with legends Walter "Wolfman" Washington (5pm) and Little Freddie King (6pm) to usher you into the evening.
Afterwards, so many choices!
No matter which you chose, let’s all meet up on Oak Street for late night. It’s hard to explain the experience of a great brass band performance. You can catch lots of talented horn players just strolling around the Quarter (carry cash for tips!), but any local will tell you the Rebirth Brass Band + the Maple Leaf (Uptown) is a classic combo.
Wednesday, May 2
Happy Hour: The Young Leadership Council is an incubator for regional nonprofits, among other good things. Support their mission by buying food and drink at this installment of their free music fest (CBD), which features Amanda Shaw + TrumpetMafia. Kicks off at 5pm.
9pm: Jazz bass player Jasen Weaver has done, well, a lot. He's played with some of the city’s greatest, including Ellis Marsalis and Dr. John, as well as performed his own spin on music from a hit anime series. His band recently released their debut album, The Voscoville, and will play at Jazz Fest. But pro tip y'all: catch them at 30/90 (Marigny).
9pm: Influential jazz/R&B pianist Henry Butler will play 3 spots at Jazz Fest this year with various lineups. But he'll also do a more intimate show as part of Six of Saturns, the annual music fest put on by the Ace Hotel’s Three Keys bar (CBD).
Thursday, May 3
Tonight the choices are overwhelming. We give up. Just roll the dice.
7pm: Kermit Ruffins epitomizes the New Orleans entertainer, drawing comparisons to his idol Louis Armstrong. This week he’s at multiple venues—including two Jazz Fest stages—but Bullet’s (Treme) is your best chance of avoiding a crowd. And there may even be yummy oysters being chargrilled outside.
7:30pm - Tank & The Bangas y’all!!!! Check out the 360° concert video (below) by Model Content collaborator and A+ independent producer Juliane Piecha. Then go see them live at the 6th Annual Shorty Fest (French Quarter), a benefit for the Trombone Shorty Foundation, which supports young under-served musicians.
8 :30pm - The Rock 'n' Bowl (Uptown) hosts an epic night of zydeco, with Geno Delafose and the French Rockin Boogie, plus Chubby Carrier and Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas.
Late night: Head to Frenchman Street because at 2am, Fiyawerx Productions presents their 6th annual FIYA POWA featuring George Porter Jr., Ivan Neville (I told you there'd be another chance!), Karl Denson, Stanton Moore, Roosevelt Collier, Tony Hall, Big Sam and Maurice Brown at The Maison (Marigny).
Whew! So what are you looking forward to during Collision 2018? Leave a comment with your own "must do" list for the trip. And stop by Model Content's ALPHA Startup booth (stand number A 105 on Wednesday, May 2) to hit up Molly for even more tips on making the most of your time in New Orleans.
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