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Nola Live Music Letter

Chris Cornell of Soundgarden at Voodoo Experience 2011 // Photo by Jimmy Grotting

Sorry it has been quiet here, been quite a run with Jazz Fest and a recent jaunt up to Shaky Knees in ATL. NOLA Live Music Letter will be moving to bi-weekly during the summer slowdown, and I'm cooking up a more nationally-focused concept similar to this, delivered quarterly. If you'd like to sign up for that, you can do so here: http://eepurl.com/cO0qpv


Chris Cornell (1964-2017)

RIP to one of the all-time talents in rock and roll, Chris Cornell was a force of nature (who could control the weather, see anecdote below). Thoughts are with the Soundgarden crew and Cornell family during this tragic time. Cornell was on the Freddie Mercury echelon of vocal greatness. A massive loss for the music world.

I count myself as one of the millions of Soundgarden fans around the world (Superunknown was the first cd I ever bought at a Media Play in Alpharetta, GA in 1994) and getting to see them for the first time here in New Orleans a half-dozen years ago when they returned from a thirteen-year hiatus was a massive thrill. After seeing Soundgarden headline at Voodoo Experience in 2011, I wrote:

How many more years will we be able to see a band as heavy, psychedelic and powerful as Soundgarden headline a major music festival? If the days of this kind of rock music still having enough popularity and relevance are waning, I’m glad I got a chance to see it go down on Friday. It was a huge, turbo-charged shot of adrenaline to watch a band bring that kind of voltage to the stage (without synthesizers or turntables)...

The SG shows I saw in 2013 in Los Angeles and 2014 in Atlanta were even more memorable.

The 2013 LA Wiltern Soundgarden concert was filmed for a digital release and took place about a week before I took the California Bar Exam. Anyone who has been down that road knows those can be dark and trying times. To that point, never in my life have I needed live music relief more and they rattled out something over the course of the nearly three-hour show. My general mood was vastly improved after that night. The power of live music.

In 2014, I took friends to see Soundgarden co-headline Lakewood Amphitheater with Nine Inch Nails. Everyone I was with was (understandably) hyped to see Trent and Co. and I told them to make sure to get a good spot for SG. It was August in ATL and therefore the weather was about as ominous as could be around the time Cornell and Co. were about to take the stage, the skies were completely rapturous and a delay or full cancellation looked pretty imminent. Against the odds (and weather predictions), with dark-as-night skies and lightning flashing all around the stage (during "Black Hole Sun", no less), the storm skirted the venue and show went on as planned. Soundgarden destroyed and played perhaps my favorite show of that year. NIN is, and always will be, one of the most consistently great live bands of all-time. But on that appropriately dark Friday night, Soundgarden was better.

And now for you week round-up of live music:
Black Lips at One Eyed Jacks (5/22)
Moonchild at Gasa Gasa (5/24)
Ty Segall at One Eyed Jacks (5/26)
The Mountain Goats at Republic NOLA (5/26)
Conan and North at Siberia (5/28)
Erykah Badu with Mannie Fresh at UNO Lakefront Arena (5/28)
SUMMER
COYOTES at Gasa Gasa (6/3)
JEFF The Brotherhood at Gasa Gasa (6/6)
Muse at Champions Square (6/8)
PWR BTTM, Tancred and Nnamdi Ogbonnaya at Gasa Gasa (6/8)
Journey with Asia at Smoothie King Center (6/9)
Miike Snow with Klangstof at Republic New Orleans (6/13)
Third Eye Blind with Silversun Pickups and Ocean Park Standoff at Bold Sphere at Champions Square (6/13)
Girlpool at Republic NOLA (6/15)
Aldous Harding at Gasa Gasa (6/17)
Steve Gunn with Lee Ranaldo and Meg Baird at Gasa Gasa (6/18)
Jake Shimabukuro at House of Blues (6/21)
Boston at Saenger Theatre (6/27)
ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL AT MERCEDEZ BENZ SUPERDOME - 6/29, 6/30, 7/1 & 7/2