Le Bon Temps Roulé

We were off to Le Bon Temps Roulé. It was my first visit to this venue that many love dearly. From the start, I couldn’t see what the fuss was all about. The front room had a completely different vibe, initially playing redneck rock on the jukebox, than the back room where Anders Osborne was playing. The back room had terrible sightlines, thanks to a “stage” that was an entire two inches off the floor. It was also incredibly crowded and very uncomfortable. I was not a fan.

Many words have been used to describe Anders Osborne, but “sober” is not one of them.

Photo by J-R.

To make matters worse, Anders was not very good. Typically, I would walk miles to see him play, but on this day, he looked much more tanked than normal and was unimpressive to say the least. In addition, this was the first time I had seen him playing without Kirk Joseph on sousaphone. He had someone on electric bass, and while the guy was a fine player, it just didn’t sound right to my ears. About 45 minutes into the set, I had wiggled through the crowd enough to see who else was in his band, and then I saw the king of New Orleans drumming, Johnny Vidacovich. Suddenly, I didn’t give a shit what Anders was doing because THE MAN was on drums.

If I did nothing but watch Johnny Vidacovich play the drums for the rest of my life, I would die a happy man. Simply put, he is an incredible musician. His mastery of rhythms and creativity always lead to one immensely danceable beat. Speaking of dancing, he is the only drummer I’ve ever seen dance across the kit with such grace and swagger. Okay, I’ve seen footage of Bill Kreutzmann doing it in 1974, but Johnny’s drumming is really a sight to behold.

The group decided to split at setbreak to go shoot B.B. guns in Kevin’s kitchen (word has it that Craemer is a great marksman—a very scary thought), but I stayed to grab a spot on the rail in full view of Johnny. Per usual, the bassist, Johnny, and Tim Green all got back on the stage to start Set Two but Anders was AWOL. Johnny seemed a little pissed and suggested that the band just start playing, so he whipped into a beat and a little jam began. A harmonica player came up from the crowd, and he lent some throaty vocals to what became an excellent version of “Hey Pocky Way.” By the end of the song, Anders showed up and seemed much more inspired. Later, Monk Boudreux appeared wearing a wig and sang vocals on a few tunes before acting all cracked out and sitting on the floor. Anders tried to get him up, but Monk wanted to sing from the floor, so he did. It was odd.

Craemer shoots a gun indoors. Even though we are in New Orleans, there is no way this can be legal.

Photo by J-R.

Monk cannot be talked into getting off the floor no matter how hard Dude With Tambourine tries.

Photo by J-R.

Vince Herman, formerly of Leftover Salmon, also sat in on vocals and washboard. I ran into him after the show and asked him whether he would be playing with a band this week. He said he was filming a documentary on the recovery (or lack thereof) from Katrina, and it would be posted online at http://www.iclips.net/

J-R and Craemer returned for the end of the show, which had vastly improved since the first set, and we left somewhere around 2 or 3. Carmody and his friend Barrett were finishing their 8-hour drive from Asheville and would be arriving shortly, so we walked over to St. Joe’s, a cool little bar near Lindsay’s place. The Ashevillians arrived, and we had a few drinks. St. Joe’s has cool, dark feel, and the jukebox didn’t play a single song recorded after 1974, so I was in my power alley.

We retired back to Lindsay’s, had a few beers, and called it a night/morning.

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