Sarah Quintana performs at the Lagniappe Stage at Jazz Fest.
The Meters, Galactic, Kings of Leon, Sarah Quintana and a host of other performers delivered great send-offs on the final day of Jazz Fest.
Galactic brought the heat early in the day at the Acura Stage with a fiery “Hey Na Na” from its 2012 album Carnivale Electricos
, with vocalist Erica Falls delivering the soul-stirring chants from the song title, part of the funk band’s reinterpretations of the city’s musical Mardi Gras canon. Trumpeter Shamarr Allen took the mic to flow on a cover of old-school hip-hop duo Eric B and Rahkim’s “Paid in Full,” setting off a high-energy set proving Galactic’s power to keep fans guessing and bodies moving.
At the Jazz & Heritage Stage, percussionist Bill Summers played bandleader for his Jazalsa set. Ace trumpeter Maurice Brown, a Chicago native who cut his teeth at Snug Harbor 15 years ago — before moving on to gigs including his role in Tedeschi Trucks Band — soared on the deep groove of “Watermelon Man,” the Herbie Hancock classic from Summer’s Headhunters era — arguably among jazz’s most definitive songs. Joking near the set’s end that “we have 15 minutes left and 3,000 songs to do,” Summers welcomed guest dancers on stage to highlight Dizzy Gillepsie’s 1962 opus, “A Night in Tunisia.”
Songstress Sarah Quintana performed at the Lagniappe Stage in the Fair Grounds’ paddock area. “Teaching us how to get down” the singer/guitarist/composer/yogi brought the funky folk style of her Miss River Band, highlighted by alluring flute play by Rex Gregoy. Standing solo with her Fender for a few songs, Quintana sang, “If I’m your mistress / I can’t be your muse / You have to choose” in her composition “I’m Confessing,” which closed with an incredible series of delicate soprano yodels that affirmed the rising star’s many talents.
Lafayette’s Roddie Romero brought his Hub-City All Stars Fais Do-Do for a foot-stomping barn burner. The raucous sax style of Derek Huston (formerly of the Iguanas) brought a furious Latin-tinged groove to the Cajun sound. Romero put the pedal to the metal on his accordion for a boogie to close the set.
During the Hardhead Hunters’ set at the Jazz & Heritage Stage, Otto “Big Chief Fiyo” Dejan taunted the square and self-righteous in boasting “I drink my Hennessy — so what?” before going inclusive with “Today, everybody is a goddamn Indian” in launching into the here-today, gone-tomorrow paean to partying “Before I Do.” In a silly but fun move, the 7th Ward Mardi Gras Indian gang closed with a cover of sing-along staple “Shout.”
Kings of Leon served up a healthy dose of guilty pleasure at Acura Stage, with heartthrob Caleb Followill’s intensely focused blue eyes sending many young fans to states of squealing delight. Backed by his cousins in a band that showcased powerful, punkish Southern rock chops, Followill fell victim to success’ seductions a decade ago in veering towards a cheesy, pop blend of music, but the raging rock guitars, drums and keys more that delivered in an up-tempo set highlighted by “On Call” and “Use Somebody.”
Clad head to toe in blue hues of tie-dye, George Porter Jr. greeted the Gentilly Stage audience for The Meters’ jubilant Fest send-off. Propelled by the guest roles of Ivan Neville on keys and a stellar horn section including Khris Royal and Clarence Johnson III, the Meters put an exhilarating exclamation point on their brand of funk music in a set that grooved seamlessly through their classics. The opening “Hand Clapping Song” set the tone for a free-wheeling celebration that continued with “World Is a Little Bit Under the Weather.” An improvised jam segued into “Hey Pocky Way” and bounced to the powerhouse psychedelic swirls of Leo Nocentelli’s guitar. “You've Got to Change (You've Got to Reform)” kept up the power and lead to “Chug Chug Chug-a-Lug (Push and Shove) Part I,” “Just Kissed My Baby” and an otherworldly marathon in “Ain’t No Use” (sung by Porter as he played the keys, with Royal playing bass). The band concluded with its anthems “Fire on the Bayou” and “Cissy Strut.”