The Hot 8 Brass Band and Trombone Shorty Fight for the Heritage and Future of New Orleans – VILLAGE VOICE

BY LARRY BLUMENFELD

“Did we just make that up?” asks Harry “Swamp Thang” Cook at the end of “On the Spot,” the title track of the Hot 8 Brass Band’s new album.

Cook, the band’s bass drummer, fakes his question. The band hadn’t just made that tune up: They were in a recording studio, re-creating a real on-the-spot moment of street-corner invention that had come during a Sunday second-line parade. Twenty years after two young bands, the Looney Tunes and the High Steppers, merged to form the Hot 8, these musicians remain heroes of New Orleans streets, still proving their ingenuity and staying power on those Sunday parades by leading finely attired Social Aid & Pleasure club members and followers for four hours at a stretch.

“The energy was so high that day that instead of feeling tired we were inspired,” Bennie Pete, the group’s sousaphonist and leader, remembered of the parade that gave rise to “On the Spot,” speaking from his New Orleans East home. “Our ideas come from these streets and these people.”

Roughly a century since jazz took shape, more than a decade after New Orleans was submerged by floodwaters, and in a moment of swift gentrification there, it’s appropriate to wonder what will become of the city’s sounds — which always amounted to more than music — and how they resonate at home and in the wider world.

The Hot 8 will provide some answers — parade-worthy tradition infused with funk, jazz, and hip-hop — when the group performs at Webster Hall’s Marlin Room on April 19. A quite different response will come at the Bowery Ballroom on April 24, when Trombone Shorty leads his Orleans Avenue band. Yet Trombone Shorty, who earned his nickname in New Orleans’s Tremé neighborhood, shares the same roots. As a toddler, Troy Andrews would march down his street, beating cardboard boxes with tree branches or blowing into plastic soda bottles in mock second-line parades. By age five, he was playing trombone in real parades. During one, his older brother James, a trumpeter sixteen years his senior and often referred to as “Satchmo of the Ghetto,” shouted out the nickname. It stuck.

That moniker aside, Andrews, now 31, is tall, and he opens his forthcoming Blue Note Records debut, Parking Lot Symphony, with a gleaming solo on trumpet, which is among the half-dozen instruments he plays on the recording (he sings confidently on nearly every song, too). That opening track and a closing one are dirges, the slow-crawls endemic to New Orleans jazz funerals. In between, nearly all the music broadens what Andrews, early in his career, dubbed “supafunkrock,” less in stylistic description than evasion of categories. “My music bleeds out in lots of directions,” Andrews said from his home in New Orleans’s 7th Ward. “We’ve toured with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Foo Fighters, we’ve opened for country bands and rappers. That affects you, but growing up in New Orleans exposed me at a very young age to musicians who never developed barriers. My city made me this way.”

Ever since that city was nearly unmade by the floods that resulted from the levee failures following Hurricane Katrina, it’s been hard to overstate the primacy of musicians like Andrews and the Hot 8’s members.

Seventeen days past that 2005 disaster, Troy and James Andrews were in the French Quarter’s Jackson Square, in the glow of generator-powered lights — brought in to play an NBC broadcast. Legend has it that when jazz pioneer and cornetist Buddy Bolden used to blow his horn, more than a hundred years ago, the sound echoed across the Mississippi River. “I thought about that,” Troy told me a decade ago. “I blew my horn, and it bounced right back to me. It was a terrifying sound. The city was empty. I asked James if this was really it, and he told me, ‘We’ll build this all back note by note.’ “

In the wake of those floods, the Hot 8 were famously caught by CNN in an uplifting performance at a Baton Rouge evacuee shelter. As Bennie Pete told me in 2007, “Some of the Red Cross people were like, ‘These people are so sad, they don’t need this now.’ They thought it was silly or even wrong. But when we kicked it, people began to smile and cry and dance. It was a healing thing. They all got it — the relief workers, the MPs, everyone.”

Remarkably, but for some locals, New Orleans did not exactly welcome its music back. In 2007, for instance, police busted up a memorial procession for a beloved tuba player in Tremé, around the corner from Andrews’s childhood home, and ignited a fight over who owns the streets. Such narratives unfolded despite the city’s pervasive use of these traditions to rekindle a tourism business that, by 2016, welcomed more than 10 million annual visitors, breaking a pre-Katrina record.

On the phone recently, Andrews recalled hearing about that 2007 episode while on tour. “To me, that was more frightening than being in that empty city. That’s a different kind of emptiness, because this culture fills our lives and our souls.”

A few years ago, New Orleans culture-bearers and their fans were up in arms over a proposed sound ordinance that threatened the street-corner spontaneity that gives rise to, say, the Hot 8’s title track. Right now, one cause for concern is the city’s recently proposed $40 million security plan. A statement from the Music and Culture Coalition of New Orleans, a nonprofit advocacy group, noted that “many locations studied to create the plan, including Times Square, Beale Street [in Memphis] and London’s Soho, are widely seen as culturally ‘sanitized’ and ‘homogenized,’ packaged for easy and unchallenging consumption by visitors.”

Andrews finds the tourists now riding Segways through his old Tremé neighborhood disorienting, he said. “But my heart warmed the other night when I sat on the front porch in my old neighborhood and a brass band came down the street. We may have to fight for all this, but it’s not going away.”

“Early on, we could just blow our horns and thrill people,” the Hot 8’s Pete told me. “But now it’s about much more. It’s about demanding respect and having input in our society.” He thinks his community has been largely left out of a citywide plan that owes mightily to its indigenous culture. “We’re baking it,” he said. “We got all the recipes. Why don’t we get a better piece of the pie?”

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017
The Hot 8 Brass Band
@ The Marlin Room at Webster Hall

http://www.villagevoice.com/music/the-hot-8-brass-band-and-trombone-shorty-fight-for-the-heritage-and-future-of-new-orleans-9872039

Regina Spektor, Amanda Palmer, Elvis Perkins & more playing “Dear America” benefit in NYC – BROOKLYN VEGAN

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Regina Spektor, Amanda Palmer, Elvis Perkins and more are playing benefit concert “Dear America” which happens at Webster Hall’s Marlin Room on April 13. Details:

Dear America brings voices together to express our diversity and encourage a dialogue that unites us as a country. Now more than ever the personal is political and we have an opportunity to speak up and speak out.

Also on the bill: John Forte, Julia Bullock, Darius de Haas, A.M. Homes, Susan Minot, Maria Popova, Anand Giridharadas, Matthieu Aikins, Mark Warren, Ekow Yankah, and more TBA. Tickets are on sale and all net proceeds benefit The Southern Poverty Law Center, NRDC, The Trevor Project, and Planned Parenthood.

Regina will also be playing Central Park SummerStage in July.

http://www.brooklynvegan.com/regina-spektor-amanda-palmer-elvis-perkins-more-playing-dear-america-benefit-in-nyc/

Minus the Bear, Beach Slang, & Bayonne @ Webster Hall (pics) – BROOKYN VEGAN

Minus the Bear have been making their unique mix of math, prog, dance, indie and more for years now, and this year’s VOIDS is yet another winner. They’re on tour now in support of it, and they hit NYC for their first of two shows here last night (3/28). That was at Webster Hall, with killer direct support from Beach Slang, plus opener Bayonne. Pictures are in the gallery above.

MTB will hit Music Hall of Williamsburg tonight (3/29) with Bayonne and Wild Arrows. Tickets are still available.

Both Minus the Bear and Beach Slang played the BrooklynVegan/Sound on Sound-presented Lost Weekend in Austin during SXSW. Pics here and here.

photos by Sean P

See the whole gallery here:
http://www.brooklynvegan.com/minus-the-bear-beach-slang-bayonne-webster-hall-pics/

The Best NYC Shows This Week – VILLAGE VOICE

Illegal Civilization Presents: Show Me the Body, Leven Kali, Taco
The Studio at Webster Hall
8 p.m., $20

Illegal Civilization is a LA-based skate crew who make videos and put on shows. They’ll be in New York this week, premiering a film featuring the rapper Mac Miller, and hosting this show at Webster Hall. Headlining is the New York punk trio Show Me the Body, whose excellent debut album Body War, released last year, showed off their diverse influences, from hip hop to hardcore to blues, and their furious live energy.

Tickets here
http://www.villagevoice.com/music/the-best-nyc-shows-this-week-show-me-the-body-ellen-allien-moor-mother-9790063

The 6th Annual Gildie Awards Q&A

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Q: What is Gilda’s Club?
Gilda’s Club NYC is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to support, educate and empower cancer patients and their families.
Q: What kinds of support do they offer?
Gilda’s Club offers support groups for men, women, teens and children living with a cancer diagnosis as well as their family members, friends and caregivers. Additionally, members can participate in various workshops that promote stress reduction, body movement, creative expression and education.
Q: How old do I have to be to become a member?
Our program is open to individuals 5 years and older. We also offer a separate program for children and teens.
Q: What kinds of cancer do you provide support for?
Our program is for any and all types of cancer. Our focus is on the emotional and social effects of cancer as oppose to the diagnosis itself.
Q: Is it a place just for women?
No. Our program is to men and women of all ages.
Q: What does it cost to join?
FREE! Our program is offered at no charge. We understand that cancer can be costly and we believe that a community of support shouldn’t have to add to those costs.

Tickets and info here

Little Simz played The Studio at Webster Hall with CJ Fly – BROOKLYN VEGAN

British rapper/singer Little Simz recently opened for Lauryn Hill at Radio City, and she returned a smaller headlining show in NYC on Saturday (3/11) at The Studio at Webster Hal with Pro Era’s CJ Fly opening. Pictures are in the gallery above.

Simz, who released the very good Stillness In Wonderland last year, also opens select dates on Ab-Soul’s tour.

photos by Brandon St. Jean

Full photo gallery here:
http://www.brooklynvegan.com/little-simz-played-the-studio-at-webster-hall-with-cj-fly-pics/

Inside Ed Sheeran’s intimate, ‘secret’ gig in NYC with Tom Hiddleston – USA TODAY

Cue the fan fiction: Ed Sheeran, left, and Tom Hiddleston at The Studio at Webster Hall in New York Monday. (Photo: Kevin Mazur, Getty Images for SiriusXM)
Cue the fan fiction: Ed Sheeran, left, and Tom Hiddleston at The Studio at Webster Hall in New York Monday. (Photo: Kevin Mazur, Getty Images for SiriusXM)

Well, that’s one guy you wouldn’t expect to see at an Ed Sheeran concert.

Tom Hiddleston stopped by The Studio at Webster Hall on Monday night to check out a so-called “secret” performance by Sheeran, hosted at a surprise venue by SiriusXM radio for subscribers. Despite their slightly awkward shared connection to Taylor Swift — Sheeran is her longtime pal and collaborator, while Hiddleston is her most recent high-profile ex — the Brits squashed any concerns of possible bad blood with a chummy photo backstage.

Although this reporter didn’t catch a glimpse of the Kong: Skull Island star in the throngs of shrieking, beer-sipping concertgoers, other Hiddlestoners fared better.

Hiddleston wasn’t the only one who got up close and personal with Sheeran during the hour-long acoustic set, which featured a mix of fan favorites and new songs from his third album, Divide, released last week. Moments into a performance of I’m a Mess, the ginger troubadour asked for a chair to be placed in the middle of the crowd, where he paced and played four songs including Supermarket Flowers, Perfect and Eraser.

When he wasn’t drowned out by shouts of “I love you” and “He’s so hot” by overeager twentysomethings, Sheeran managed to croon some of his most popular hits. The highlights were stripped-down takes on Multiply tracks Don’t and Thinking Out Loud, and his current No. 1, Shape of You.

Eddy Sheers. #shapeofyou

A post shared by Patrick Ryan (@pjrye727) on

Sheeran performs for SiriusXM's
Sheeran performs for SiriusXM’s “Secret Show” series Monday in New York. (Photo: Kevin Mazur, Getty Images for SiriusXM)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/entertainthis/2017/03/07/ed-sheeran-divide-album-show-new-york/98841074/

MUSIC 5 highlights from Ed Sheeran’s secret NYC show – ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

On the heels of his latest album crushing — no, but seriously, crushing — Spotify streaming records following its release as well as a Sunday night performance of his first Billboard Hot 100 No.1 “Shape Of You” at the iHeartRadio Music Awards, Ed Sheeran took over the stage of The Studio at New York City’s Webster Hall for an intimate, inspired concert on Monday night.


The location

Sheeran took the stage at the Studio at Webster Hall, just down the stairs from the larger Webster Hall. The venue holds 400 people, though it feels like less, and the vibe is more “friend’s basement that’s way cooler than yours” than your average concert venue. It’s a favorite of the Sirius XM “Secret Show” series; Grouplove played their set there in 2012, as did Cage the Elephant in 2013 and Young the Giant in 2014.

full article: http://ew.com/music/2017/03/06/ed-sheeran-secret-nyc-show-highlights/

Bond St District Q&A

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Bond St District plays Friends Records Showcase w/ Wing Dam, Natural Velvet, Blacksage in the Studio on March 16th. Bond St District is DDM and Paul Hutson

Whats your guilty pleasure?
DDM: Love And Hip Hop Atlanta
PAUL:Taking ridiculously long showers.

How would you spend a billion dollars?
DDM: I would probably give away most of it.
Paul: Take a 1/4 of it and invest it immediately so I would never work another day in my life. Take another 1/4 and buy a house, some land for myself and for my family. I’d take the last 1/2 and dedicate it to aiding pre-existing charities while also starting my own charity benefitting cancer research, and another benefitting medical marijuana research as it relates to pain management and seizure reduction.

How do you want to be remembered?
DDM: As somebody who continued to evolve throughout my entire life and inspired innovation.
PAUL: I want to be remembered as a person who lived his dream while using the platform I’ve been given to enact positive change in the world.

Whats your worst habit?
DDM: I bite my nails
PAUL: Smoking cigarettes.

Most embarrassing moment?
DDM: Falling asleep in the backyard after drinking 12 shots of tequila then being awakened by the lawn sprinklers.

PAUL: In our first year as a group I had trouble being confident on the mic. We had a show in DC for the grand opening of Maketto and I decided that I was going to be blindly confident since I didn’t know anyone in the crowd. When it was my turn to do my verse, I confidently strutted to the front of the stage, mic in hand, cocky as sh*t, and the instant I opened my mouth to start my verse the power to the stage completely shorted out. In the moment I opened my mouth it went from lights, loud music, and a crowd of dancing people, to darkness, silence, and a crowd of people awkwardly looking at me like “what did you do???” Luckily Unkle Lulu is a constant professional and did my verse a cappella, got the crowd to do a call and response, and by the time he finished the song with the crowd I had everything back up and running. But that moment where everything shut off instantly leaving me facing a crowd full of people feeling like i just showed up to the party naked was terrifying and hilarious.

How would your best friends describe you?
PAUL: Goofy, a dork, and driven

Where do you go to get the best bagel in NYC?
PAUL: Being an out of towner makes me really nervous to answer this question. I’m going to plead the 5th…

Whats your go to drink?
PAUL: Beer or bourbon

Early bird or night owl?
PAUL: Night owl for sure

Do you speak any other languages?
PAUL: I know enough Spanish to order tacos from an authentic taco spot but thats about it.

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