Words by Alexandra Johnson | Photos by Kurt Johnson

New Orleans, LA — As the heat of New Orleans set with the Louisiana sun, the music played on. In NOLA, you find out quickly that the days turn into nights faster than anywhere else in the world, and the nights turn into day before you’ve ever thought about closing your eyes. The phrases ‘I’m sleeping in’, ‘I’m leaving early’ and ‘How much for a water?’ do not exist. Instead, they are replaced with ‘Where’s the next show?’, ‘When’s the next set?’ and ‘How many tequila shots can I fit in both my hands?’.

The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, year after year, is a wild rumpus of musical gluttony. Time is irrelevant as you stumble from The Fairgrounds to the bars that birthed Jazz many years before. Your body quickly adapts to overindulgence from the fear of missing even a single beat from the Big Easy.


This year proved itself to be no different from its predecessors. As the moon took on the night shift, the venues that lined the streets stretched their walls wide enough to fit every musical connoisseur that set out to taste the sound of the bayou. An empty bar-stool proved to be just as difficult to spot as a saint. On this particular night, the Contemporary Arts Center became home to the groove-engrained dance party that was billed as The Royal Family Ball.

The funk-infused jams of Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk seduced the industrial space into transforming into a place of musical worship. Before even knowing what you signed up for, it seemed as if the entire room already agreed to a full night of dancing, about five more hours than anyone’s legs had in them by this point.

After throwing it in the dumpsta, Soulive took the reigns and complete control over the vibe in the room. The trio had so much soul in their groove and even more groove in their souls, weaving together an unforgettable set. Watching guitarist Eric Krasno’s fingers became your eyes’ only purpose and your ears swore they wouldn’t hear anything better than the Beatle’s mash-up of “Eleanor Rigby/I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”, even though it was way too early in the weekend to be making that type of call.

Lettuce blurred the night into morning with no indication of taking heed and winding down. Feeding off the sounds that had already bounced off the high ceilings and concrete floors, the full stage of musicians erupted with the glorious sounds of a funkadelic late night jazzy jam. Before the end reared, special guest Warren Haynes strapped himself to a set of strings and blew the already unhinged roof straight off the joint.

It only took five hours, but the ball’s ticket spoke volumes, leaving everyone in attendance wishing their family was as bad ass as Royal Potato’s, and with just as many guitar shredding family friends.


TheWaster.com | NOLA