This in from MTV News super-shooter Akshay Bhansali:
I just spent a rather bizarre weekend down in New Orleans. My dad serves on the board of directors of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and the final weekend wrapped yesterday. It all started with a party at the family house, which involved consuming copious amounts duck po-boy, boudin balls, and soft-shell crawfish (yes, you can apparently soften more than just crab), and fixing Gwyneth Paltrow's mom’s cellphone(??). Blythe Danner is an incredibly cool woman!
After the party I cruised over to Frenchman Street in the Marigny to catch M.I.A. perform in a crazy steamy warehouse. The crowd hardly seemed to care about the heat -- when she opened her epic show with "Bamboo Banger," the room became pure, awesome chaos. Maya had Cherry, always at her side, onstage with her, and even her brother Sugu was hyping up the crowd! She ended with the album closer "Paper Planes," which not only puts a new spin on a Clash classic but works shockingly well in the “Pineapple Express” trailer, correct??
Pics from JazzFest -- and what M.I.A. reveals to Akshay backstage -- after the jump.
After the show, I went backstage (Um, hi, Jude Law!) and had a chat with Maya, who admitted she didn't know how New Orleans was going to receive her. But despite the super-hot NO welcome, she said she’s thinking about moving away from music altogether and returning to art -- she's originally an artist/painter and videographer, and she’s designed all her cover art, t-shirts, and merch. (Not to mention the "Galang" video, remember that?) So get out there and catch the tour now in case that happens, kids!
On Sunday, we started the day off at the Gentilly stage at the fairgrounds, catching the tale end of hometown heroes Galactic’s set. Now, I am not a jam-band fan. Wide Spread Panic, Phish -- not for me. But Galactic's rollercoaster horn section had us all, dare I say, noodling.
Right after that, Jack White and the Raconteurs took the stage – and I feel like some of the enthusiasm died just a little bit. More hipsters, less heat. The band was exceptional -- but maybe the crowd was waiting to give their all to the newly reunited Neville Brothers, who closed out the festival at the Acura Stage. It was the Nevilles’ first show since the storm.
Recover. Rebuild. One show at a time!