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Lagniappe

 
THE

Defender Picks

 

LUNDI

August 21st

Solar Eclipse Paddle

Canoe and Trail Adventures, 10:30AM

Explore the swamps and bayou during the eclipse

 

Energy Clearing Class

Swan River Yoga Mandir, 7:30PM

Solar eclipse reiki course to clear your self

 

Monday Night Massacre

Rare Form, 8PM

Feat. Phantom of Paradise and Cannibal The Musical

 

Betty Who

Republic NOLA, 9PM

90's tinged Aussie artist, feat. Geographer

 

Knockout

The New Movement, 9:30PM

Battle of the funniest 

 

Instant Opus

Hi-Ho Lounge, 10PM

Feat. Eric Bloom, Russell Batiste, David Torkanowsky, Chris Severin

MARDI

August 22nd

Murder Ballads

Euclid Records, 5PM

Book signing with Dan Auerbach and Gabe Soria

 

DIY Fermented Foods

Rosalie Apothecary, 7PM

Fermented dairies, like kefire, yogurt, butter, buttermilk, and more

 

Stanton Moore Trio

Snug Harbor, 8PM

Galactic drummer's side project

 

Water Seed

Blue Nile, 9PM

Future funk stars

 

Treme Brass Band

d.b.a., 9PM

See the legendary band on their home turf

 

Rebirth Brass Band

Maple Leaf, 10PM

2 sets by the Grammy-winning brass band

 

Smoking Time Jazz Club

Spotted Cat, 10PM

Trad jazz masters

 
 

MERCREDI

August 23rd

Wine Down Wednesdays

New Orleans Jazz Museum, 6:30PM

Free yogalates at the Mint

 

The Heart of Herbalism

Rosalie Apothecary, 7PM

Syrups and immune health

 

Trapper Keeper

Side Bar, 8:30PM

Local improv music duo, feat. Dr. Jeff Albert

 

Trainspotting

Bar Redux, 9PM

Free screening of junkie masterpiece

 

Chris & Tami

The New Movement, 9:30PM

TNM's founders perform weekly free show

 

Vixens & Vinyl

One Eyed Jacks, 10:30PM

Burlesque dance party

JEUDI

August 24th

Summertime Blues

Shops at Canal Place, 5:30PM

Young professionals meet-up with blues, brews, and BBQ

 

Architecture & Design Film Festival Kick-Off

Contemporary Arts Center, 5:30PM

Opening night party and film

 

Yoga Social Club

Crescent Park, 5:45PM

Get sweaty and centered

 

Ogden After Hours

Ogden Museum, 6PM

Feat. Sweet Olive String Band

 

Ambush Reggae Band

Gasa Gasa, 9PM

Local roots reggae group

 

Royal Teeth

Tipitina's, 9PM

Feat. Merci Raines and No True Scotsman

VENDREDI

August 25th

Friday Nights at NOMA

NOMA, 5PM

Feat. The Pfister Sisters

 

Exotic Races

Fair Grounds, 5PM

Races feat. ostriches and camels

 

More Lovely and More Temperate

Valiant Theatre and Lounge, 6PM

Performance of all 154 Shakespearean sonnets

 

Lil' WeezyAna Fest

Champions Square, 7PM

Feat. Gucci Man, Rich the Kid, Kodie Shane, YoungBoy NBA, and Lil Wayne

 

Little Maker & Mr. Universe

One Eyed Jacks, 9PM

Feat. special tribute to The Band

 

Rocky Horror Picture Show

Prytania Theatre, 12AM

Feat. NOLA's foremost shadow cast The Well-Hung Speakers

SAMEDI

August 26th

It's About TIME

Studio Be, 6PM

Artist conversation about oppression via symbols like the monuments

 

New Pride Pageant

Cafe Istanbul, 6PM

Honoring Mr & Miss New Orleans Pride 2017

 

New Orleans Saints vs. Houston Texans

SuperDome, 7PM

The Saints and Texans go head to head

 

Rick & Morty Marathon

Bar Redux, 9PM

Outdoor binge session for Dan Harmon's animated series

 

Swamp Motel

Gasa Gasa, 9PM

Album release party for Louisiana rockers

 

Vox & The Hound

One Eyed Jacks, 10PM

Pop group, feat. psych band Midriff and Naughty Palace


'Right Time, Wrong Place'

Documentary Project Unearths the Origins of New Orleans Punk Rock



Though it was never the headliner of the New Orleans music community, punk rock has been a player since the beginning of the music form in the late 1970s. Ryan Sparks catches up with a local documentary maker who's attempting to assemble the pieces of the local scene's raucous - and uniquely New Orleans - provenance.

 

In 1978 the Neville Brothers debuted nationwide on their first self-titled album, Albert King sung about his bad luck on New Orleans Heat, and Dr. John released City Lights.  Far removed from mainstream funkiness and mature R&B, another New Orleans original released a 45 single, Almost Ready.

 

Until recently, it was the lone document of the city’s first successful punk rock band The Normals, who spearheaded the movement with a driving sound influenced by early rock 'n roll. The cutting-edge sound and rebellious, DIY ethos sent kids across the area head-popping and pogo-dancing.  While no local band from punk’s original heyday ever established themselves as a true nationwide phenomenon on par with MC5, the Stooges, or the Ramones, a scene managed to coalesce in this trumpet-and-sax town that was filled with enthusiastic kids.

 

As with any punk scene, there are survivors, stories, and souvenirs galore. But those elements have dissipated over the years, and sometimes the memories are a litty fuzzy. Al Champagne, a young director who was born around the same time the NOLA new wave was rolling hard and high, has committed himself to documenting the tales of the era straight from the participants themselves. He is currently about three-quarters of the way through interviews for a documentary on this little-studied piece of New Orleans music history. The doc will take its name from the Normals song: Almost Ready: The History of New Orleans Punk Rock.

 

Champagne found a CD collection of the Normals' singles and demos called Your Punk Heritage in the late nineties and has been listening to it ever since.  

 

“I describe the Normals as the Ramones if the Ramones were better able to play their instruments," he said. "When I told that to [singer/guitarist] David Brewton, he seemed to not like the fact that I was telling him that I thought he was better…it was like telling Pope Benedict he’s better than Jesus Christ.  The Normals did have that sound where everything came in together, they sang in harmonies, they played their instruments, they just were in the right time, wrong place.”  

 

Getting the Bands Back Together

Champagne studied in Delgado’s Television and Video program, and has long wanted to make films, but knew that on a spare budget he’d have little chance of making even an indie feature.  In fact, he has yet to find any financial backing and doesn’t own any equipment of his own but told NoDef, “I decided I’m going to try to do this regardless of having all of these handicaps.”  

 

The idea to explore the late 70’s and early 80’s punk scene in New Orleans years before, and as he approached his 30th birthday he decided it was time to undertake his own documentary project.  In the summer of 2011 he started contacting members of bands with requests for filmed interviews.  After a handful of sessions he met up with Jimmy Anselmo, longtime owner of Jimmy’s nightclub on Willow Street (the Frat House now occupies the site) who became enthusiastic about the project.  Anselmo not only had a wealth of stories but something even more valuable to Champagne: contacts.

 

Last year Anselmo and Champagne set up a Facebook group and watched as the member list slowly started to rise to the hundreds.  Made up of old musicians, zine-sters and well-known fans, the group has been posting photos, gig posters, and old T-P articles (one concerning the arrest of members of the Misfits trespassing in St. Louis Cemetery #2 is a favorite artifact) as well as catching up on each other’s interim history.

 

“What’ll happen is you got all these people re-connecting after 30 years and reliving their glory days," Champagne said. "I didn’t expect anything like that to happen.”  

 

Following the success of the group, Anselmo organized a reunion at the Southport Hall in Jefferson. He and his two-man film crew, Pablo Romero-Estevez and Andrew Mayeaux, set up at the party and got a lot of interviews. Another event is scheduled for this December in the same venue, this time with performances by reunited bands like the Backstabbers, the Models, Sexdog, the Limit, and Stephie and the White Sox.  

 

Tolerance for the Weird

The high points for many of the bands Champagne interviewed seem to be when they almost cut a record deal or when they opened up for the Clash or U2 or when they got a chance—like Dee Slut from the Sluts—to audition for a role in a more established band like Black Flag.  Only the Red Rockers—featuring John Thomas Griffith, now of Cowboy Mouth—found their way onto MTV with their minor hit “China.”  Many eventually made other cities their home, like so many musicians of that period, punk or otherwise, who felt the need to escape the stigma of New Orleans as a jazz/honky tonk/funk town.  A few have become successful session musicians.  Champagne says he has interviewed everyone from “laborers to lawyers,” but their memories all seem to be positive.  

 

Early New Orleans punk and new wave bands fed a lot on direct influence from the Clash, Ramones, and Sex Pistols, and none of them really attempted to break the mold, but the scene had its differences from other cities’ incarnations.  For one, there was very little infighting amongst bands or their adherents.  The closest thing to a rivalry Champagne can point to is the division between the Normals, who rocked mainly uptown and the Dukes, a band that held onto a little more of the Stones-type swagger and represented Fat City at a time when Fat City was a thriving disco boomtown.  For the most part, the same type of people could be found at any of the shows at now-defunct clubs, clued in by John G., a DJ who curated a punk and new wave show for WTUL on Tuesday nights.  In the era before MySpace, Facebook, and even the widespread sharing of bootleg cassettes, this little slice of time on the radio was important to kids across the city who were buying into the developing movement.

 

“Here in New Orleans, I guess ‘cause it’s a smaller city and a lot of these bands played together, it wasn’t uncommon to have a power pop band playing with a more hardcore band.  There was a lot of heckling, but not fights. “  

 

Champagne cites New Orleans long-standing tolerance of the weird for harboring the early scene, but it seems to this correspondent that it may have helped keep the scene a little tamer than in other cities since being a punk here wasn’t necessarily synonymous with being tough.  Listening to N.O. Experience Necessary, a 1980 compilation of various punk bands from southeast Louisiana (and inspiration for the name of Champagne’s film), it seems that in this region punk stayed only one step removed from rock for a longer period and maintained more of a party vibe than a running social commentary.

 

For instance, Chris Luckette, the drummer for the Normals, returned home after the band unsuccessfully tried to make their way in New York City and transitioned from straightforward 70’s punk to power pop with the remarkably popular band The Cold.  The band played quick offbeat/upbeat songs written by bassist Vance Degeneres.  They happened to be clean cut enough to play CYO dances yet hot enough to fill clubs on Bourbon Street.  Another band, RZA, formed out of NOCCA behind the capable crooning of Lenny Zenith.

 

“Lenny Zenith was a transgender at a time when it wasn’t really acceptable,” Champagne said.  “The scene here was very accepting of him, but when he tried to make his way to the major labels they weren’t as receptive of him as they were at home.  So I guess Boy George was one thing to the major labels, but he was another […]but as a songwriter, this guy, by all accounts, would have been a staple of college radio by the end of the 1980’s.”  

 

Project is Ongoing

After more than 20 interviews, Champagne is feeling a lot of momentum going his way. His partner Pablo Romero-Estevez is leaving soon to spend some time in California gathering footage from NOLA-expats there.  Collecting the stories has been the easy part; his main challenges now are editing the hours and hours of footage he has into a movie that will further compel the audience’s interest in this varied corner of NOLA’s rock history. To spotlight some of the more compelling lore, he envisions that he will also compile mini-featurettes to give wider exposure to particularly characters like A.G. Parr who wrote songs for the Dukes and fronted Famous Monsters.   

 

Champagne is currently considering Kickstarter or another crowd-sourcing utility to raise funds necessary to finish his project.  He is getting a lot of support and images to use in his film from fans and the bands themselves. For now, it seems interest in vintage southern punk continues to grow.  The Normals have had some studio tracks from 1979 recently released on Last Laugh records, the Cold are releasing a DVD, Live at Jimmy’s, that captures them in at their bounciest and best, and Jimmy Anselmo himself has garnered a tribute corner at this year’s Voodoo Music Experience featuring bands like Dash Rip Rock and the Models.

 

Stay tuned for more information on this one-of-a-kind film. And in the meantime, here's a clip in which punks describe their age-old nemesis, the HeyBra:

 

The Unheard Music From the

The Unheard Music

From the article;

"Champagne cites New Orleans long-standing tolerance of the weird for harboring the early scene, but it seems to this correspondent that it may have helped keep the scene a little tamer than in other cities since being a punk here wasn’t necessarily synonymous with being tough. Listening to N.O. Experience Necessary, a 1980 compilation of various punk bands from southeast Louisiana (and inspiration for the name of Champagne’s film), it seems that in this region punk stayed only one step removed from rock for a longer period and maintained more of a party vibe than a running social commentary."

With respect, Mr. Sparks, it's a good idea to avoid generalizing based on the position of one's lens. That Mr. Champagne connected with the venerable Mr. Anselmo at an early stage of this project was certainly fortuitous for both of them, and for others as well. There were many amazing shows and bands at Jimmy's over the years, not exclusively, but particularly for the power pop fan.

Whatever his enthusiasm for the music at the time, as a businessman Mr. Anselmo fairly consistently and decidedly rejected a large segment of The Scene. My impression was that he didn't want his place trashed. While there were notable exceptions, both homegrown and visiting hardcore bands generally had to find another venue. This is not meant to disparage Mr. Anselmo in any way, he was clearly an important and supportive figure for New Orleans music at the time, and it's extremely gratifying that he is still so involved.

As indicated in the article, one of the things i think New Orleans enjoyed as a smaller city was the cross-over between the various social and musical circles. That's just how New Orleans is (was?) anyway. I'm not trying to start a Mods vs Rockers thing, gawd knows the smaller circles also contributed to a lot of really silly drama. What appealed to many about the music and spirit of the time was the diy, homegrown nature and accessibility. Again, this applied for both local bands as well as visitors. New Orleans was a special place, that particular scene offered a unique and welcoming environment for a huge list of bands from around the world. We were certainly sufficiently numerous, varied and devoted enough to support a very vibrant scene outside of one particular sub-genre.

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Contributors

Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Naimonu James, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Nina Luckman, Dead Huey Long, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via, Austin Yde

Photographers


Art Director

Michael Weber, B.A.

Editor

Alexis Manrodt

Listings Editor

Linzi Falk

Editor Emeritus

B. E. Mintz

Editor Emeritus

Stephen Babcock

Published Daily