… And I probably came dangerously close to peeing on it. You try drinking several things called “Hand Grenades” and not perform some act of public indecency.
I spent last week in what might be my new favourite North American city, New Orleans. A city where music is an inescapable part of the culture and an accepted aspect of the daily experience. You wander the French Quarter or Treme or Jefferson City and find some of the most talented musicians you have ever seen just playing incredibly complex pieces for two or three people in an alley. They also have the world’s largest collection of fat tuba players.
Just walking through a park you can hear a five piece band playing dixieland jazz, a solo guitarist ripping through some Delta Blues, a folk duo collaborating with some MC’s and old hippies trying to stumble through a Fairport Convention number. All fairly genuine, and almost all quite talented. Which is what makes what happens on Bourbon Street so depressing.
Unlike Toronto (or Ottawa) most of the nightlife on New Orleans’ most famous street is live music. Sadly, however, it is a never ending stream of mediocre cover bands trying to lure the masses through the front door with the promise of 3 for 1 Jello shots and Def Leppard covers. Or how about some Bon Jovi? The Eagles? Fuck me. This is the city where America’s greatest musical contributions were refined and developed, and all you hear pounding out of every bar is some dude in a ponytail calling out “This one is for the ladies!”, before ripping out a half assed version of Brown Eyed Girl.
Now don’t get me wrong, I get the appeal of the classic rock cover band when you are hammered. I have even been known to get a little excited when some 50 year old mediocre group of clowns break out the good stuff and play David Wilcox’s classic Layin Pipe. But in the city where Jazz was elevated to its greatest heights, and on a street where there are dozens and dozens of live music venues, there are maybe four jazz clubs.
So my New Orleans music advice is this, want to hear some good stuff? Skip Bourbon Street and follow the first fat tuba player you see. And request Layin Pipe.
Bill Rawls Salute Goes to…
That guy. You know the one. Anywhere you travel you find him.
The guy with the socks and sandals, wearing a golf shirt with a sports team logo on it and a massive camera setup who insists on documenting every uninteresting moment of his trip like he is shooting for National Geographic.
These assholes are everywhere ruining any moment by jumping in front of people so he can get his brilliant, award winning photo nobody will see. What pushed me over the edge on this trip was music related. I am standing in Preservation Hall (which is the size of a living room) waiting to hear some incredible jazz in an iconic environment, when the host politely says “Please no photography once the band starts.” This fucking guy takes a big sigh, puts away his penile overcompensation toy and GOES AND PULLS OUT HIS FUCKING IPHONE TO RECORD THE SHOW!
Fuck you, you piece of shit. You are going to be hearing a musical performance of songs recorded thousands of times, and the real experience is in the subtle details and the experience of being enveloped in the live performance. But you are so committed to documenting every fucking moment of your visit to the city that you just have to stand there with your god damned phone recording a shitty audio file?
Major Rawls, I leave it to you…
List Comic Time
Apparently we do comics here now. Topical comics about music. OK, here is something I worked up.
Wait, I think I misspelled her name. Shit. Ah, well.
Drunken Itunes Purchase of the Week
Having access to a 24 hour record store that accepts credit cards is a problem. It leads to drunken purchases which seem smart at the time, but when morning comes? Who knows?
“Don’t tease me about my hobbies. I don’t tease you about being an asshole.”