Twelfth annual Threadhead patry
For me and my friends, the best part of the Jazzfest week happens on the Tuesday between festival weekends, the Threadhead patry. What began as a casual gathering of friends has turned into a mini Fest within the fest. This article explains it pretty well http://www.neworleans.me/journal/detail/1215/Unraveling-the-Threadhead-Patry
Here's my take on the 12th edition:
We got on the #5 bus to the Marigny around 11:00 am to go to the old Ironworks and met up with some patry virgins. After telling the newcomers "don't worry we know where to get off" we almost missed the stop because we were so busy yacking with some other longtime friends/ patry goers who got on at the next stop. When we arrived the line was pretty long and Meschiya Lake was already playing. It takes a while to get in because we know everyone at the check in table and many in line, so you give and get a lot of hugs and chit chat along with your wristband. However, it is a lot different than the early days when it was 50 then maybe 100 people. Now there are over 300 guests and I would say I know about 100 of them. The majority are also friends on Facebook. My newsfeed comes alive on patry day!
They were serving brunch when we arrived, but I'd never seen Meschiya Lake & the Little Big Horns before so I opted to watch the show rather than eat, because the new people we'd met on the bus said she's really something to see not just hear and they were right. She sings old-time jazz/ swing music and sounds pretty traditional but is covered with tattoos and rocks the vintage look. The band consisted of a New Orleans power trio (guitar tuba and drums) plus a multi instrumentalist who played fiddle and clarinet. It was a good set to start with while sipping on a moonshine Bloody Mary ( all the food and drinks are included ) and dancing a little.
Near the end of the set I made my way inside and most of the breakfast food was gone. I got the last piece of spicy sausage with some grits and a really delicious donut. That would hold me over til the crawfish was ready. Next up on stage was the legendary rock band Royal Fingerbowl, led by Threadhead fave guitarist/ songwriter Alex McMurray. I remember seeing them one of my first times at Fest around 20 ago and really liking them but then never again, I think they broke up. So it was a good rocking/ eclectic set. Matt Perrine played stand up bass and they also had drums and B3.
Roddie Romero and the Hub City all stars from Lafayette followed, and to my surprise it was more of rock and roll sound. Last time I saw them they were more Cajun sounding, but that is probably because it was at Rhythm and Roots. There was an accordion on stage but Rod played guitar for the most part. It was good upbeat music to dance to, as much as I could. I was still a little hampered by my knee and and the uneven ground, but I really can't sit still when I hear good music. Finally he picked up the accordion for a rocking version of Big Mamou, but to my dismay there was no rub board. I played air rub board hoping for one to materialize but no such luck.
The first 500 lbs of crawfish had gone quickly but the second batch was ready after Roddie Romero so I went I to have some. Hot spicy and delicious! But such a mess. After I had my fill I cleaned up and went out to take my turn tending bar at the Moonshine table. Midnight Moon was a sponsor this year but unlike New Orleans Rum and Zatarains, I guess the company didn't send any reps to dispense the product, so Threadheads signed up to take turns tending bar for one hour at a time. The Patry is a labor of love and many of us pitch In to help with check in, raffles, tending bar, cleanup. Other times I've poured beer or helped with check in. None of these seem like work because you're meeting and talking to people the whole time, helping everyone enjoy. So we were dispensing premixed peach moonshine tea, bloody Mary's and other flavors like strawberry or blueberry mixed with lemonade or Sprite. It was the fastest hour of the patry for me. From that spot you ca hear the music fine, and can see a little.
At the end of my bar tending stint I went up front to catch the rest of Johnny Sansone. He was going nuts on harmonica and looked so festive in a lime green print shirt. During the last song he came out into the crowd and danced among us, what a wild man! I though it might turn into a mosh pit with crowd surfing but that's the next generation. We were moshing in our minds.
Last band was the Iron Funk all stars which appeared to be a version of Dumpstaphunk, and they didn't skimp on the funk! They did some good cover songs, like a funky version of David Bowie's Fame and Steve millers Fly like an Eagle. By now I was getting pretty tired and still couldn't resist dancing, but was ready to leave a few minutes before it ended to try and get a cab. We waited a while then piled in to our favorite cab driver's van with 7 other Threadheads. What a blast! A ten hour party sounds like a long time but it just flew by! We are so lucky to be involved with this group. A day at the patry is like a bonus day at Jazzfest, every band that plays there has also played at the Fest, and all the food and drinks included you can't go wrong, especially being among so many friends in a more intimate setting than the fairgrounds. And let's not forget the raffles, both online and at the party. I don't want to quote the amount at the risk of being wrong, but it was a lot of money raised for Threadhead Cultural foundation to help keep the music and culture of our beloved city alive, and come back for another one next year! To learn more about the Threadheads and all the projects we've supported over the years, please visit http://threadheads.org/