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Defender Picks



April 30th

Jazz Fest

Fair Grounds, all day

Final day of weekend one



Bayou Beer Garden, 9AM

The most important meal of the year


Movie Screening: The Invisible Man

Prytania Theatre, 10AM

1933 sci-fi horror classic



Saenger Theatre, 3PM

YouTube superstar comes to town


Sunday Musical Meditation

Marigny Opera House, 5PM

Feat. guitarist and composer David Sigler


One Tease to Rule Them All

Eiffel Society, 7PM

Lord of the Rings burlesque


Joe Krown Trio

Maple Leaf Bar, 7PM

Feat. Walter "Wolfman" Washington and Russell Batiste, plus a crawfish boil


Blato Zlato

Bar Redux, 9PM

NOLA-based Balkan band


What is a Motico? 

Zeitgeist Arts Center, 9PM

Helen Gillet presents Belgian avant garde films


May 1st

May Day Strike and March

Louis Armstrong Park, 1PM

A protest for freedom, jobs, justice, and sanctuary for all


Movie Screening: Soundtracks: Songs That Defined History

Peoples Health Jazz Market, 6:30PM

CNN presents event, with post-screening conversation with anchor Brooke Baldwin


WWOZ Piano Night

House of Blues, 7PM
Back to the roots


Ooh Poo Pah Doo Monday Blues

Carver Club, 8PM

Treme club shifts its weekly show to the historic Carver Theatre


Poetry on Poets

Cafe Istanbul, 9:15PM

Evening of poetry with Chuck Perkins, plus live music



Blue Nile, 11PM

Famed brass all-stars play Frenchmen 




May 2nd


Ernest N. Morial Cenvention Center 

Kick off day of tech conference


United Bakery Records Revue

Marigny Recording Studio, 3PM

First annual showcase of the label's artists


GiveNOLA Fest

Greater New Orleans Foundation, 4:30PM

Music from Irma Thomas, Big Sam's Funky Nation, Rebirth Brass Band


Tasting Tuesdays

343 Baronne St., 6:30PM

Chardonnay vs. Pinot Noir



House of Blues, 7PM

Grammy-nominated French heavy metal 


Little Freddie King

Little Gem Saloon, 7:30PM

Stick around for Honey Island Swamp Band at 11PM


Neil Diamond

Smoothie King Center, 8PM

50th anniversary tour


The Mike Dillon Band

Siberia, 9PM

Feat. Rory Danger and the Danger Dangers


May 3rd

Book Reading: Michael Fry

Octavia Books, 4:30PM

From "How to Be A Supervillain" 


Flower Crown Workshop

Freda, 6PM

Hosted by Pistil & Stamen Flower Farm and Studio


Pete Fountain Tribute

Music at the Mint, 7PM

Feat. Tim Laughlin


Erica Falls

The Sanctuary, 8PM

CD release show


Piano Summit

Snug Harbor, 8PM

Feat. Marcia Ball, Joe Krown, and Tom McDermott


The New Pornographers

Tipitina's, 8PM

In support of newest album 'Whiteout Conditions'



Saenger Theatre, 8:30PM

Alt-rock icons


Piano Sessions Vol. 7

Blue Nile, 9PM

Feat. Ivan Neville


Twin Peaks

Gasa Gasa, 9PM

Feat. Chrome Pony and Post Animal in support


New Breed Brass Band

Blue Nile, 11:55PM

Next generation NOLA brass


Tribute to Lee Dorsey

Pres Hall, 12AM

With Jon Cleary, Benny Bloom, & Friends


May 4th

Jazz Fest

Fair Grounds, all day

Weekend two kicks off


May the 4th Be With You

Tubby & Coo's, 4PM

Star Wars party


Jazz in the Park
Armstrong Park, 4PM

Russell Batiste and friends


Yoga Social Club

Crescent Park, 5:45PM

Get sweaty and centered 


Cuba to Congo Square Throwdown

Ashé Cac, 6PM

Live music, DJs, and dance


Mike Dillon

The Music Box Village, 6:30PM

Punk rock percussion


Herbs & Rituals

Rosalie Apothecary, 7PM

Class for women's health


Shorty Fest

House of Blues, 7:30PM

Benefit concert for his namesake foundation


AllNight Show 

The Historic Carver Theater, 8PM

Feat. Ian Neville, Nikki Glaspie, SSHH feat. Zak Starkey of The Who


Jurassic 5

The Howlin Wolf, 9PM

Feat. Blackalicious


Foundation of Funk

Republic NOLA, 9PM

Feat. George Porter Jr., Zigaboo Modeliste


Jazz: In and Out

Music at the Mint, 9PM

Live music to benefit the Louis Armstrong Jazz Camp

Hang Tin: Chaz Fest Recap (PHOTOS)

Photos by Ryan Hodgson-Rigsbee

According to a friend of mine, the homes in the Bywater are “so close together you can hear your neighbor reading a magazine.”  This past Wednesday, the two stages of Chaz Fest brought more interesting noises to incidentally overhear if you were in the neighboring blocks.  


The sounds of merriment are available as soon as you start walking down the driveway that separates two of the houses that border the “Truck Farm.”  This spacious, tree-shaded acre was created a decade ago by removing the chain link fences that separated various backyards and combining them into one property. 


Improvements to the grounds include fluorescent orange spray-painted tree roots and string lights of varying sizes and colors.  The off-kilter shack that seems to have been planted by a tornado, the faded paper lanterns tacked up with rusty nails, and the bright, hand painted signs give the sub-tropical spot a Neverland type of feel.  As soon as you’ve spent an hour there dodging palm fronds at eye level and drinking the oft-advertised Hard Liquor, you may find yourself forgetting about the outside world.


If the Truck Farm is Neverland, then its residents and custodians are the Lost Boys and Chaz Fest is the festival that refuses to grow up.  The festival, with its thumb-your-nose origin story and perceived remoteness maintains an imperviousness to capitalization or cultural commodification.  Alex McMurray, musical polygamist and Chaz Fest’s chief organizer, has no aspirations of becoming Quint Davis, and over the years has learned that DIY comes with its fair share of PITA. He darts around the grounds either double-checking the PA, side-hugging a friend, or swaying from his ankles onstage: producer, patron, and participant. 


Which isn’t to say that the day is disorganized or unprofessional.  The food--some homemade, some provided by local restos like Yuki and the Joint BBQ--was first rate, and the schedule never suffered from overlong sets or technical difficulties.  Often a band on one stage would start immediately after another had just finished, pulling the crowd through the thickets with intentional chords.  The artists themselves seemed to enjoy the laid back nature of the festival.  With no backstage, private tents, or golf cart chauffeurs the artists were free to stash their gear and rejoin the crowd as audience members. 


The lineup provided an uncropped snapshot of the local scene.  There are, of course, the bands that Alex McMurray fronts, the Tin Men and the Valparaiso Men’s Chorus--as comfortable at Le Bon Temps and Carrollton Station as they are at home in a Ninth Ward venue, but doubly confident letting loose outdoors.  Helen Gillet played as part of an ensemble.  The Geraniums don’t gig that much anymore, but their set of post-punk favorites lit a candle for the long-departed, less self-referential New Orleans of the nineties. 


The Tintypes are hard to write about without using the cliche “fresh faces,” because that’s exactly what the earnest, young country roots band has.  The TBC Brass Band played an energetic set, segueing as they usually do from song to song, drawing a dancing mob to the loose straw in front of the main stage.  Walt McClements from Why Are We Building Such a Big Ship? went one-man gypsy music peddler as Lonesome Leash, grabbing some hometown love before heading to France.  R. Scully and the Rough Seven closed out the night and either wore you out or pumped you up for another couple hours of partying.


Beyond the edges of the stages, the festival-goers provide their own cross-section of the city.  While Chaz Fest has a reputation as a renegade festival with a penchant for rum and whiskey drinking, the reality is that, just like another festival that takes place this week, there is something for everyone.  At the Truck Farm this correspondent encountered people operating with the most tenuous grasp on consciousness.  Whether they were overindulgent adults or tired toddlers propped against their parents’ legs, they nodded in time with the music while around them everyone else visited, held hands, laughed, and swiped crumbs out of their laps. 


One of McMurray’s most apt sing-along choruses goes, “If you can’t make it here, then you better not leave,” a warning to the loser who thinks he might have it easier in a different city.  It’s a humorous concept, not completely off base.  But next year, whether you’re an out of towner or a citizen whose knowledge of street names gets foggy past Elysian Fields, take this as a challenge: if you can make it here, you won’t want to leave. 




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Renard Boissiere, Linzi Falk, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Dead Huey, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via


Art Director

Michael Weber, B.A.


Alexis Manrodt

Editor Emeritus

B. E. Mintz

Editor Emeritus

Stephen Babcock

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