Jazz Fest Day Five: Alabama Shakes, Christina Aguilera, Fiya Fest and More
Christina Aguilera and Alabama Shakes headlined the second Friday of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Aguilera—by far the biggest pop act to grace the festival’s Acura Stage this year—worked through a set that included hits like “What A Girl Wants” and “Beautiful,” as well as covers of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love,” BB King’s “Thrill Is Gone” and Etta James’ “At Last.”
The Alabama Shakes, fresh off the heels of the well-received guest appearance at Preservation Hall the previous night, held things down at the Samsung Galaxy Stage. The soulful Southern rockers played before a massive crowd, as frontwoman Brittany Howard put everything into Shakes originals like “Heartbreaker.”
While most people were over at the fairgrounds for the main event, Fiyawerx Productions was throwing a parallel Fiya Fest over at Mardi Gras World on the other side of town. The eclectic mini-fest featured plenty of crawfish, as well as a variety of superjams like GRITTS (George Porter Jr., Roosevelt Collier, Ivan Neville, Tony Hall, Terrence Houston, Big Sam and Sam Kininger), The Headhunters Super Jam (Mike Clark, Bill Summers Donald Harrison, Blackbyrd McKnight, Bernie Worrell, Fred Wesly, Karl Denson and Doug Wimbish) and Midnite Disturbers (Stanton Moore, Big Sam, Ben Ellman, Mark Mullins, Shamar Allen, Kevin O’Day, Matt Perrine with Rahzel, Brandon Niederauer and The Roots of Music). The Revivalists, Mike Dillon Band, The Heard and a number of other bands were also joined by special guests throughout the day, while artists-at-large Cyril Neville, Corey Glover, Eric McFadden, Papa Mali and Billy Iuso hopped around from set to set.
As usual, last night also saw a number of late night parties take place around the city. Galactic took the stage at Tipitina’s at 2am, and Funky Meters, St. Paul & Broken Bones and California Honeydrops performed at the venue earlier in the night. Meanwhile, Karl Denson and Carley Meyers joined Robert Walter’s 20th Congress over at Publiq House, and Garage a Trois reconvened sans Skerik for a show at One Eyed Jacks in the French Quarter. Anders Osborne, Tony Leone, Iuso and Dillon also joined their friend Papa Mali for a crawfish boil at the NOLA Brewery.
However, the night’s most exciting after show was without a doubt Gov’t Mule at the Saenger Theatre. The Warren Haynes-led group was joined by nearly 40 guests during their marathon set at the recently renovated venue, including Johnny Winter, Trombone Shorty, Chuck Leavell, Sonny Landreth, Eric Krasno, Charles Bradley, the Dirty Dozen horns, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Bill Kreutzmann, G-Love, George Porter Jr., Luther and Cody Dickinson and many more.
The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival will continue today with a headlining set from Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band.