Friday Night April 27, 2012
Beats Antique (U.S.- Electronica/World/Dance),Scene Malibu Fais Do Do stage
Arrive in time to catch the last song by a totally funky group named Beats Antique. They wear masks and cavort about the stage to the tune of their own music. This is as close to a rave scene as I've heard so far, arms raised and waving in unison, the audience looks like a field of wheat swaying in the evening breeze. The band reminds me of an earth-bound Cirque de Soliel with a massive percussion section.
Pine Leaf Boys (Louisiana - Cajun), Scene Chevron Heritage Stage
The Pine Leaf Boys, local musicians with four Grammy nominations. They've revived the old time Cajun songbook and have so much fun doing it that they've captured the allegiance of their parents' generation, their own, and probably the ones to come.
The festival is run like clockwork. The shows begin on time and end on time. The Pine Leaf Boys show finishes at 8:59, scheduled to end at 9 PM. When the show is over, it is over. Within minutes tech crews are offloading one band's sound system and replacing it with the next - wires, mics and all.
At the end of the show, an announcer implores us, first in French, then in English, to buy festival pins and artist CDs and festival merchandise in the merchandise tent. This is the way the festival can run in the black and keep this spectacular weekend free to the public.
Lafayette is mindful of the French heritage common to much of southwest Louisiana - it's what binds the festival's music together. Lafayette began a French language immersion program in 1992. Over 1000 students are enrolled now, many more on a waiting list. For one or two generations before this, Cajun kids would get punished for speaking French in school. Pride in culture has been revived in the schools, it was never out of favor in the dance halls and front porches around here.
Lindigo ( Reunion Island-Maloya/Sega), Scene TV 5 Lafayette Stage
The band is as different in appearance and music content as anyone has seen so far this weekend. Listening to it puts most of us as close to Madagascar as we will ever get. As different as this music is, people are embracing it with feel-good enthusiasm. The sound has the same effect as a brass band that gets you to move your feet and get in touch with that spot in your heart that embraces joy and makes you smile. The lead singer has boundless energy. His movements groove and stop with the precision of Lindigo's traditional polyphonic songs.
In case you had any doubt that the spirit is moving, here come a pair of silver haired locals parading in a samba step to the music, teenagers sashaying all over the place - this is happy music, people relate to it, there's a mom holding the handles of her kid's stroller and rocking the kid gently to the beat of the song.
The seven men and one woman on stage play traditional wooden percussion and metal percussion, no brass and no reed instruments, and one African string instrument. The lead singer paces the stage like James Brown, great moves, relentless energy, at one point the whole band steps and sways together. now I know where The Four Tops and The Persuasions got inspiration for their stage presence back in the 1950s.
Chico Trujillo (Chile – Cumbia/Punk/Ska/Chilean Folk), Scene Malibu Fais Do Do stage,
This Chilean band plays zesty Cumbia music, full of energy. A red, white, and blue Chilean is being waved by a proud compatriot somewhere in the front row. This band throws everything at us - trumpet, trombone, saxophones, drums, accordion, guitars, and soaring vocals. By turns sinuous and full bore rocking cumbia, it's all dance friendly. Hundreds of spectators take the cue, with all kinds of inventive dance moves.
Vagabond Swing (Louisiana–Gypsy/Afro beat/swing) Scene Chevron Heritage Stage
A wild combination if I have ever heard one, it attracts lots of the kids of the Goth persuasion.
Around 10:45 PM, Gary Clark, Jr. (US–rock), Scene Popeye International Stage
Gary is a phenomenal guitar player, got down and bluesy at end of set.
Photos and videos by Paul A. Tamburello, Jr.