The TBC Brass Band hasn’t had a regular Sunday night gig since they ended their long run at the Blue Nile earlier this year, so I was thrilled to hear that they were beginning a new Sunday night gig at Groove City up on A. P. Tureaud in the Seventh Ward, nearly across the street from Bullet’s where the Pinettes hold forth on Fridays. As I have pointed out before, brass bands seem to come into their own when they play in neighborhood bars and clubs as opposed to the bigger tourist venues. There tend to be more second-liners, a more exuberant atmosphere, and a better interplay between the band and their fans. For a first night, there was a decent crowd, and great music.
After dinner, I drove over to the Seventh Ward, to a neighborhood sports bar called Bullet’s, where the all-girl Pinettes Brass Band has a weekly gig on Friday nights. The Pinettes won last year’s Red Bull Brass Band competition in New Orleans, and gets a lot of attention, as female brass band members are the exception rather than the rule. Bullet’s is the kind of neighborhood joint that you would miss if you weren’t looking for it, but I should have noticed the oil drum cooker out in front of it, which is a common site at New Orleans community bars. Inside was already packed, with an NFL preseason game on the big screen, but one by one the Pinette musicians arrived, and soon the club was rocking. The Pinettes are a decent brass band, with good arrangements, and a loyal following that soon filled the dance floor. While they played a lot of tunes unique to them, they also played some songs I recognized from the TBC, like “When Somebody Loves You Back” and Deniece Williams’ “Cause You Love Me Baby”, which I have never heard outside of New Orleans, but which is immensely popular there. After a brief intermission, the Pinettes played a rousing second set, and then everything wound to a close at midnight. By that point, cars filled the median on A. P. Tureaud.
The To Be Continued Brass Band (or TBC Brass Band) plays every Wednesday at Celebration Hall on St. Bernard Avenue in the Seventh Ward of New Orleans, but their performance on Wednesday August 20 was special, as it coincided with the birthday of the band’s deceased saxophone player Brandon Franklin. Any TBC performance is spirited, but this night was especially significant, and they opened with a traditional reading of “Just Over In The Glory Land” as a tribute. It was a steamy hot night, the musicians covered with sweat by the second tune, but nothing stopped the second-liners and buckjumpers on the dance floor in front of the stage. Aside from members of another local brass band (without instruments) talking smack during the intermission, it was another one of those memorable New Orleans nights.
Taking a break at Bocat’s Lounge in the Seventh Ward, where a large crowd gathered. The stops along second-line routes give the paraders and band members a chance to rest or eat and drink, and also give other social aid and pleasure clubs a chance to host and salute the club that is parading, New Orleans, 12/02/12