Photoset // Native America + Buxton + Habitat + Ben Jones: 02.15.2012

Native America + Buxton + Habitat + Ben Jones performing at Circle Bar on February 15, 2012

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Live Picks: 02.16.2012 – 02.22.2012

02.16: Yeasayer (DJ set) + Force Feed Radio + Swiss Chriss + Christoph Andersson + Pr_ck – Eiffel Society

02.17: Supagroup – One Eyed Jacks

02.18: Caddywhompus + Big Rock Candy Mountain + Young Mammals + Donovan Wolfington – Cafe Prytania

02.19: Jack Oblivian + King Louie’s Missing Monuments + John Paul Keith – Siberia

02.20: Quintron and Miss Pussycat + Bass Drum Of Death + Har Mar Superstar + Marijuana Deathsquads – One Eyed Jacks

The last time Oxford, Mississippi’s Bass Drum of Death rolled through town, it was as part of what many have correctly identified as the most amazingly programmed show of 2011, an early October triple-feature that also included stripped down Houston psych-funk outfit Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Toro Y Moi. Bundick and Co.’s much belated New Orleans debut induced a pulsing, venue-wide dance party, and the frequency in which UMO erupted into slick intergalactic jams during their set made it one of the most unexpectedly delightful performances of recent memory; but it was Bass Drum of Death that stole the show that night, for doing what can only be accurately described as rocking really, really hard.

Despite the connotations of their (strong candidate for best band) name (in the history of music), the duo of John Barrett and Colin Snead offer one of the the most earnest takes on modern garage-punk the increasingly crowded field of vintage noise-rock revivalists has to offer.  Beyond the lo-fi aesthetic, their recorded material springs forth with an infectious vibrancy owned to fuzzed out guitarwork that still manages to be bright and sharp percussion work that is more likely to punctuate a driving riff with dexterous cymbal work than monstrous low-end.  But it’s the band’s live show, an unbridled explosion of primal energy that has been known to incite an all-female mosh pit or two, that feeds the band’s growing reputation as straightforward purveyors of unpretentious, undeniable rock ‘n’ roll.

They return to town this week for a well-deserved and tailor-made spot in Quintron’s annual Lundi Gras Blowout at One Eyed Jacks.  In a city steeped in musical tradition, this Monday night extravaganza hosted by Mr. Quintron and his performance art partner-in-crime Miss Pussycat is the “Neville Brothers on the second Sunday of Jazz Fest” for the rambunctious freak-out crowd, a rabid mass of followers that have turned the avant-noise alchemist into something of a local living legend. Sweaty, profane R&B crooner Har Mar Superstar along with Marijuana Deathsquads round out the bill, and the ladies of WTUL’s KG Accidental will be back on the 1’s and 2’s spinning the house music all night long.

MP3:  Bass Drum of Death: “Velvet Itch”

02.21: Lonely Lonely Knights + Guitar Lightnin Lee and the Thunder Band + Spooky Le Strange and Her Billion Dollar Babydolls – Saturn Bar

Check out our New Orleans Music Calendar for a full slate of constantly updated live picks

New Grass Country Club: 02.26.2011

The first thing I did when I got to Breezy’s on Saturday night was wonder – audibly, as it turned out – “What.. the hell.. is this?”

Jack Donovan, the lead singer of New Grass Country Club, was on door duty at the time and began to rattle off the details of the evening’s show.  I interrupted him after a few seconds, as I already knew what was on the schedule: The side-project to a side-project Chris Shark America was playing an ambient set before New Grass – still using borrowed instruments after a tour theft incident – was headlining a post-Mardi Gras parade house party.  What caught me off guard was the venue itself.

Billed as a haunted/old residence located in an area with which I am almost wholly unfamiliar, my trek around Uptown New Orleans in search of “Breezy’s” was characterized by plenty of concerns about my personal safety yet also by a dearth of expectations.  I’ve been to “house shows” before; where the band sets up in a backyard or basement, the sound is below average, and it is usually only a matter of time before the NOPD shows up to send the thin, mostly dissatisfied crowd on their way.

But what I walked into on this particular evening was nothing short of an over-the-top funhouse of a rock club, a space that had alternated between commercial and residential over the past decade and was now – with a deep, graduated main area, benches spread in front of the remnants of a built-in bar, and a recessed stage  – a perfectly bizarre hidden gem.  Every square inch of the walls of this former coffee house/performance art space were covered with stuff, including but not limited to concert fliers, Christmas lights, posters, paintings, dried flowers, and old bikes.  When combined with the wall to wall carpeting, all this extra adornment contributed the whacked-out room’s warm aural landscape.

New Grass Country Club used the unusual and intimate space to their advantage by unleashing nothing short of a take-no-prisoners ramble, proving the hardship they’ve gone through over the last few weeks has been remarkably unsuccessful in slowing down their momentum.  The procession of raggedly soulful vocals, acrobatic bass lines, and intricate guitar work spanned – and defied – nearly the entire of history of defiant rock n’ roll that makes up the New Grass backbone.  Even a slower, more stripped down number like the etheral “Kingdom” enveloped the crowd with Donovan’s sweeping howl. By the time the band had finished upending the room with Television-esque dueling guitar solos on “High Tide on Capital Hill” and “Coma”, the first concert ever played at Breezy’s appeared to be an unmitigated success: the keg was floated, minds were blown, and no noise ordinances were (grossly) violated.

Barryfest Endorses: Listening to The Doors During Mardi Gras

It was once thought, among philosophers of the Current and Future State of MusicTM, that the Doors made the perfect music for extreme cold weather in big cities. However, the nuances of such a notion confounded, mystified, and ultimately divided experts who, unable to account for the vast sociological, economic, and ethnic diversity that characterizes most major US cities, couldn’t systematically articulate how, when, and by whom the Doors were to be enjoyed.

Was it for the poor or the down and out, as evidenced by “Been Down So Long”? Is “The Changeling” only for those planning to start a new life as a drifter? Do you need to own a car to enjoy “Moonlight Drive”?

Ultimately, no one could come up with a hard and fast rule. Some people lived in cities, but they weren’t all big; and some of those cities were cold, but not all of them. The only thing these experts could genuinely agree on was that “Break on Through” was the official song of using psychedelic drugs in wartime Vietnam. After laying down this decree, most simply dropped the subject and never thought about it again.

We at Barryfest, after several years of research in many cities with different climate types, have come up with a unifying theory of the Doors: Their’s is the ultimate music to listen to during Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

As it turns out, the size of the city is less relevant than what is going on in that city at a given time. Though temperature is no longer an issue, extreme cold certainly helps if you leave the Bacchus parade route on foot and walk into the crowded smoky barroom of the Mayfair to hear “Roadhouse Blues” blaring in your right ear while someone hands you a High Life. But even if Mardi Gras falls after New Orleans’ subtropical climate has shaken off the chill of her short but despised winter, is “Spanish Caravan” any less fitting a soundtrack for an ill-advised walk down Prytania Street?

We suggest making sure you have the band’s entire library on your person at all times during Mardi Gras. Load it on your smart phone, have your Doors Pandora Station ready, and get yourself multiple CDs for driving because you will need “Peace Frog” to start every day and, trust us on this, you don’t want to be caught up at the end of the night without “L.A. Woman” at your fingertips.