The Bass Parade

When the show ended, we had planned on going back to the Howlin’ Wolf to see if we could catch the end of George’s show. Of course, we had no idea if he’d still be playing at 3AM. Cathy Hughes and some others suggested we hit the Bass Parade, and when I heard that was on Frenchmen Street, my favorite street in the city, I was sold. We walked east toward Frenchmen through some eerily quiet parts of the Quarter.

When he wasn’t turning water into wine, a humble JC posed for a picture in front of the Saint Louis Catherdral.
Photo by Carm.

The Bass Parade was totally ghetto. Around 20 or so electric bassists carried portable speakers and thumped away while Alex MacMurray did his best to be heard on an upright bass. Several drummers pounded their instruments. As one of the drummers said, “It’s amazing. There’s no recognizable rhythm here at all.” He was right. It sounded terrible. It would have made John Cage proud. Everyone was just banging away, and you could barely hear the bassists who were all playing their own thing anyway. The only constant was the crowd chanting “Bass Parade! Bass Parade!” like a cross between an army of robots and a field of mooing cows. It was a very Frenchmen Street moment. It was hilarious, stupid, and a lot of fun.

Photo by Carm.

Photo by J-R.

The parade ambled down the block before everyone piled into Checkpoint Charlie’s. We passed on that clusterfuck and opted for the sedate trappings of Molly’s on Decatur. There was barely anyone there. Carm sat down and closed his eyes. This pissed off the bartender, and she started screaming that we needed to wake him up or he would be booted. We got him on his feet and dancing (Carm always seems to do well when there’s music playing), but the bartender was still pissed because his eyes were closed and she accused him of sleeping while dancing. I bought him a coke and he and I went outside where we could escape her wrath. Suddenly, the Bass Parade showed up, and within seconds, Molly’s was flooded by stomping bassists, rhythmless drummers, and the people who follow them. After taking in a few bars of a sad attempt at Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll Pts. 1 & 2,” we all decided it was time for a cab. One cab went back to Lindsay’s, while the other went to…where else? Le Bon Temps Roulé. (By this point in the trip, Le Bon Temps Roulé had become my home away from home.)

Naturally, I was in the latter cab, and Le Bon Temps Roulé still had a good-sized crowd when we arrived around 4:30ish. Eventually, I got close enough to see that The Underdawgs were on stage. This band really rocked, and I thoroughly enjoyed them. Mean Willie Green was on drums, and he was joined by several other Greens (presumably his offspring) and a guitarist with the last name of Cohen or Cohn or something along those lines. They said they had one last song, and after about 35 minutes of that song, Craemer and I (the last men standing) decided to split. I was game to walk, but miraculously, we found a cab, and we were down for the count by 6AM.

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