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Rosa Keller Library (5:00-9:00 PM)
My House NOLA presents a rolling food vendor mini festival
The Antenna Gallery (7:00 PM)
A series of music-themed movies and documentaries, curated and hosted by DJ Soul Sister, and co-presented by Charitable Film Network, Press Street, and WWOZ
Jewish Community Center (7:30 PM)
The second evening of a chamber music festival that has something for classical aficionados and dilettantes alike
Circle Bar (10:00 PM)
Catch the Indie rockers on their North American tour
A Few Before Voodoo
Lost Bayou Ramblers, Coyotes Talk About Voodoo Fest, and the New Orleans Music Scene
The wait is over for Halloween weekend in New Orleans and the Voodoo Music Experience. On Friday morning, the throngs will once again descend on City Park for the annual harvest of music, art and much more. To whet some whistles, Jillian Firnhaber caught up with a couple of up-and-comng New Orleans arists that are worth watching at the Fest:
Coyotes Roar Across New Orleans
Most bands move to LA, Chicago, or Austin to make it big. Coyotes prove to be an exception to the rule. The band came together two years ago while various members attended school in New Orleans - blending genres to create what they call “cosmic Americana electric slam-folk.” It sounds like a mouthful, but Coyotes sound is surprisingly stripped down - a perfect escape from the raucous scene of traditional New Orleans music. This is the first year the mischievous trio won’t be sneaking into Voodoo Fest - they open the Bingo stage this Friday, representing the rising tide of indie music growing steadily in the Big Easy.
Coyotes called half an hour before their scheduled meeting with NoDef. Lukas Cox, their drummer, apologizes profusely, saying “there’s something going on with the police, we’ll be fifteen minutes late,” revealing the band's dual nature. They are up-and-coming rockers, and courteous young men.
Lead singer Duz Mancini hails from LA and serves as the group’s “anxious leader.” He’s the oldest of the group, and perhaps most relaxed in his role within the band, having been around through several rotating casts. Lukas “Too Beer” Cox plays the drums and says he often plays mediator between the rest of the band and their management. However it’s clear he’s also the comic relief. The newest member is Adam Stewart, an Austin raised fashionista who comes across as unsurprisingly cerebral in our brief interview.
In a city that's steeped in more than a century of musical tradition, sitting down with three college students making a name for themselves on the indie-circuit recalls the other L.A. However, the band quickly brought us up to speed on what makes NOLA such a fantastic place to grow as artists.
“There’s a lot of big acts here: Dr. John, Rebirth…and they gig monthly. In places like L.A., there might be big local bands but they only play once every six months. That‘s great. We do play a different style of music, but we like being an outlier and pioneering something.” says Mancini.
“We probably see more live music than we listen to on our iPods. There’s just such an abundance of it in this city. And so many of them are free!” confirms Cox.
However the city is not without it’s downsides. It’s been a town that’s notoriously hard to break out of. Breaking into a national audience is more typical of the brass, jazz, or blues sounds associated with the city and, even then, the record is littered with stories of artists that almost made it to the big time. Coyotes, along with other bands such as Sun Hotel and Gold and the Rush, have been carving out their own little niche, both in the city and in the South at-large.
“It’s hard, because there’s no major markets very close. It can be hard to find an audience when you have to drive so far to tour. But when you‘re in a new town and you walk outside with beers and they tell you that‘s not allowed - it makes me think we‘re in the right town,” says Mancini.
Coyotes’ first post-Voodoo gig is a performance for Gleason Gras, an event sponsored by both Team Gleason and Rehage Entertainment (the same company responsible for Voodoo) to raise money for ALS, from which former Saint, Steve Gleason, suffers. Also playing the all-day event will be Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, and local bands The Revivalists and MyNameIsJohnMichael. Gleason has also hinted at a surprise guest artist who will be filling the 6:15 spot. The band is looking forward to the event, and began heavily speculating about which Saints players might be attending. More than their second-home, it’s clear they all feel a very close bond to the Crescent City.
“First we’re New Orleanians, second musicians,” says Stewart. “This is like a fairy tale in some ways. There’s evil pirates, everyone’s drunk all the time. It’s great. We like building our audience here. There‘s a lot of bands and everyone is doing something different. No one is copying each other.”
I was having so much fun chatting with Coyotes that I almost forgot to ask what happened with the police. One angry neighbor has it out for them, but according to Coyotes the rest of their neighborhood has their back - shouting “let them play music!” while cops scanned their records for warrants. It's doubtful that any angry woman in New Orleans could stop this trio.
Coyotes play Voodoo Fest on Fri., Oct. 26, at 12:45 p.m. on the Le Carnival Stage.
Lost Bayou Ramblers Return From Summer Sojourn
When asked where his favorite place to play in New Orleans is, Louis Michot of the Lost Bayou Ramblers has to take a deep breath. “That’s hard,” he says finally. “I guess I’d just have to say New Orleans. My favorite place to play in New Orleans is New Orleans. Lost Bayou Ramblers has been getting a lot of national (and international) attention of late - but they still manage to get back to NOLA at least once a month. This Sunday they’ll be representing Acadiana at Voodoo Fest.
Known for their Cajun French covers of popular rock songs (check out this video of The Who’s “My Generation”) , Lost Bayou Ramblers have been staples on the New Orleans music scene for over a decade. Founded by brothers Louis and Andre Michot, New Orleans has been a second home to the band, although they’re actually based out of Lafayette and Austin.
“We play [in New Orleans] more than anywhere else,“ says Michot. Nominated for a Grammy in 2008, in the freshly branded category of “Best Cajun or Zydeco Album” their popularity has sky-rocketed in the past several years, and they now summer in Brooklyn and play at private parties attended by Scarlett Johansen.
“The last year has been really special. We’ve been working it as much as possible and we’ve gotten a lot of amazing press. New York Times did a feature on my house and the music. People are appreciating our music for what it is, and it’s making a connection with people to Louisiana,” Michot says.
Also new for the band was contributing to the soundtrack of the independent film Beasts of the Southern Wild, which was shot in Terrebonne Parish and has received widespread critical acclaim for both the film itself and it’s use of local music.
“The producers of the movie really had their eye on us. They asked us to be in the movie, and finally we agreed to record for the soundtrack. The New Orleans community is awesome. There‘s a lot of amazing collaborations.”
One such collaboration was with Gordon Gano of the Violent Femmes. On paper it may sound strange, but Gano has played the festival circuit (including last year’s Voodoo) with the Lost Bayou Ramblers playing violin and helping them to “properly” cover some of his famous tunes.
This year at Voodoo the Lost Bayou Ramblers will be joining by members of the Lafayette-based pop band The Givers. Neil Young, Voodoo headliner, has sang The Givers’ praises, leaving some to believe that the legend may pop up during LBR’s set.
“That would be a dream come true. I wouldn’t put it past him.”
Lost Bayou Ramblers will be joined by members of the Givers and the Preservation Hall Horns Sunday at 4:15PM on the Preservation Hall Stage. See if Neil has had heard of them.
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