Skerik, Melvin Sparks Join The Frequinox at the Howlin Wolf
NEW ORLEANS – Side project collaborations were the theme of Monday night in the Big Easy. While many well-known musicians were jamming uptown at the Tipitinas Instruments A Comin benefit, three equally impressive line-ups took the stage at the Howlin Wolf. The headliner, dubbed The Frequinox, featured Galactic drummer Stanton Moore (fresh from Tipitinas where he had just performed), bassist Robert Mercurio (Galactic), Keyboardist Robert Walter (20th Congress, Greyboy Allstars), saxophonist Donald Harrison Jr. (Headhunters, Dr. John) and guitarist Will Bernard (Motherbug). Special guests included the omnipresent Skerik, who engaged Harrison in a monster sax dual, and guitarist Melvin Sparks, who emerged for Fire Eater.
Earlier in the night, Critters Vidacovich took the stage. As the name suggests, the line-up included members of Critters Buggin saxophonist Skerik, vibraphonist Mike Dillon and bassist Brad Houser along with drummer John Vidacovich (Astral Project). Saxophonists Sam Kininger (Soulive, Lettuce) Mark Southerland and Elliot Levine also sat in for a portion of the set.
The opening act was the Malachy Papers, a quartet comprised of Dillon, Southerland, Houser and Johnny Hamil. In this incarnation, Dillon plays both percussion and vibraphone simultaneously. In addition to playing saxophone, Southerland also utilizes Eight Track Scratching, an odd art form he invented according to the bands website.