For me one of the highlights of Mardi Gras time is always the brief, seasonal reunion of the Panorama Brass Band, the carnival-time offshoot of Panorama Jazz Band. Band leader/founder/Clarinetist Ben Schenk started Panorama to focus on Clarinet heavy brass music, and the band plays raucous numbers from all over the world, with Balkan, Caribbean and Klezmer influences, as well as homespun New Orleans selections. Their shows are always totally jumping, with audience members ranging from gutter punks to old school New Orleans brass aficionados. One of my favorite Mardi Gras memories is following Panorama around in the St. Anthony parade and even watching them in a bizarre standoff with a bunch of rabid Christian protestors who, for whatever reason,
really had their bibles in a bunch over Panorama, who seemed to be, considering our surroundings, a pretty inoffensive group to be bringing down the word of God like that. Check the band out at these shows and parades this year: 1/30 HiHo Lounge with Zydepunks 10pm1/31 Muses uptown 7pmFri 2/1 Morpheus 7:45pmAbeona House uptown (from 8630 Oak St) 10pmSat 2/2 Tucks 12:30Sun 2/3 Box of Wine 3?? Turning Point Lounge (Baronne and Washington Ave)Mon 2/4 Jackson Square in the A.M. and Mimi's 10pmMardi Gras Day St. Anthony Ramblers 1509 Gov. Nicholls, B-fast 9am, rolls at 10 Happy Panorama hunting!