Words by Audra Tracy
New Orleans, LA — Jazzfest is not for the meek. Long days in the heat, longer nights on your feet and more venues than you ever thought could fit into one city leaves even the most professional partier sunburned, dehydrated, and hurtin’ for certain. Don’t be fooled by the palm trees, lenient drinking laws or $4 cigarettes. As it turns out, New Orleans is not a place to go and relax.
So by the second Saturday night of this annual two-week festival, the crowd was about ready to collapse. Nevertheless, Garage a Trois was hosting a record release party for their new LP Always Be Happy, But Stay Evil, and the jazz super-group came to wake us exhausted mother-fuckers up.
“Do we sound bad tonight?”, Skerik half-jokingly asked his weary audience just a few songs into the set. “We’ll try to do better”, he assured. Dressed in matching gray Puma tracksuits and red sneakers, Skerik and his band-mates Marco Benevento, Stanton Moore (Galactic) and Mike Dillon unzipped their jackets in unison to reveal T-shirts emblazoned with the cover art to Stay Evil – a red-fanged smiley face drawn by Skerik’s daughter Koko.
It seemed all too fitting that a band like GAT would play a city known for its rich history of voodoo and dark arts. Menacing tracks off Stay Evil including ‘Omar’ and ‘Resentment Incubator’ spooked even the most legit metal-heads in the crowd at One Eyed Jack’s, and onlookers learned that you really could hook up a distortion pedal to nearly any instrument. The unconventional combination of ‘drum pummeling’, keys, vibraphone and saxophone lets out a loud, unmerciful, and naturally evil rumble.
Benevento’s ‘Big Whopper’ and a cover of John Carpenter’s ‘Assault on Precinct 13’ rounded out the first set before GAT literally set up a merch shop at the edge of the stage. Newly awakened fans forged to the front, passing fistfuls of cash forward in return for CD’s and LP’s freshly signed by the foursome.
After the impromptu signing, GAT took a short break. Upon their return, it appeared they got a second wind with ‘Swellage’, but the energy truly culminated when Mike Dillon tore off his shirt and howled the vocals to ‘It’s Gonna Be a Long Night’ by fellow bad-asses Ween. And for some hardcore Jazz-festers, the lyrics ‘don’t call your mother/ don’t call your priest/don’t call your doctor/call the police’ is probably a pretty accurate description of a weekend bender in The Big Easy.
TheWaster.com | NOLA