February 27, 2006
BY JASON SONGE
I was thinking it was gonna be weird to be inside the convention center after what happened following Katrina, but there were all the suburban momas and papas, anyhow, their sons and daughters riding from Uptown to keep the dancefloor full. The women were dragging coolers behind their sparkling dresses, and that was enough of a reminder just how much backwoods New Orleans will always have in it. My girlfriend from Connecticut mused that people paid so much for a ticket, just to have to bring their own food and drink. As if she needed another example of how classy we are, she saw a woman washing her feet in the bathroom sink.
I still love this city, though. Even if there's no parking and the lights on Jackson and St. Charles are out and it seems like everyone is crowding Uptown. But, back to the Orpheuscapade. Local cover band Chee Weez opened up the night and played until the parade entered the center. I had never seen them before, and I was impressed. At least as impressed as I can be with a cover band. The quintet's faces were painted in purple, green, and gold, and it looked as though they were wearing shiny pajamas. Anything to hide the belly, I guess.
Chee Weez's long set was heavy on '80's hits("Footloose") and MOR rock("Any Way You Want It"). This may seem impossible, but the lead singer's voice reached higher than Steve Perry's. Chee Weez played all the usual suspects, but they did manage to throw in a rap medley. I would have liked some Run DMC instead of Lil' John.
After the parade rolled through, Ivan Neville's Dumpstapunk played some bad-ass, tight dance music. Even if nobody knew the songs they played until they got to the Mardi Gras standards, they were throwing down the fun, nasty stuff. Undeniable feet movers.
Some crappy country band played after Ivan Neville. They must have known someone, because they could have just as easily been playing Checkpoint Charlie's on a Wednesday night. Not much that was redeemable in the music and quite a letwdown after Ivan Neville.
This is where it starts to get blurry. Too much to drink, but I do remember Steven Seagal fronting his own blues band. How surreal. Seagal pulled it off, but that's all. He wasn't great, and he didn't go beyond the call of duty. He was stoic and displayed the same expersionless face that's made him famous. Man, I didn't pay to see some vanity project. Or, maybe I did. Once Seagal was on, it was time to go. Orpheus is supposed to about music, so I suggest they start being about it and not let some movie star being his band along just because he's riding.