Tomorrow, Naughty will be playing a show at Blue Nile on Frenchmen Street. For those of you not as hip to the New Orleans music scene, Frenchmen is the hub of live music in the French Quarter these days, with something like a dozen music venues within two blocks of each other. “But I thought the hub of music was Bourbon Street!” you may say. Listen. It might have been that way a long time ago, but it really isn’t like that anymore. Now, Bourbon is a great place if you like drunk tourists, aggressively amplified renditions of “Don’t Stop Believin’, ” or taking shots out of a waitress’s…huge tracts of land. Which hey, sometimes people need to blow off some steam in a manner only Bourbon Street can provide, I get it. But as far as good music goes, you’ve got a better bet on Frenchmen (it should be noted that Bourbon does have a few redeemably decent music venues, such as Irvin Mayfield’s and Fritzel’s).
So for this week’s blog, we’re taking a trip down memory lane, down Frenchmen Street (that makes sense, right?).
Frenchmen is where the musicians’ hang happens. It’s not often that I walk through there and can’t find someone I know playing. Sit-ins are a huge part of the New Orleans musical culture, and they are perhaps most prevalent on Frenchmen. Jam sessions with stacked house bands are common, especially later at night, where there is a solid rotation of great musicians trading off playing tunes. Sometimes a combination of local musicians and out of town musicians here for a festival play together, often with no rehearsal. I’ve seen some truly inspiring music happen under these circumstances, where everyone on stage is a badass and the end result is something you’ve never heard before.
In addition to the sweet music, though, there is a healthy amount of crazy shit that happens.
At one of Naughty’s first gigs on Frenchmen, we happened to have an ambitious idiot in our crowd who was so inspired by our music that he decided to crowd surf. Now I have nothing against crowd surfing, but there are certain qualities of the crowd-to-be-surfed that must be present before you throw your body onto it. For instance, the crowd must see that you are about to surf, so they can brace themselves. Also, the crowd must be much larger than two people. If these parameters are not met, as they weren’t with the young man in this story, throwing yourself onto the crowd isn’t called crowd surfing. It is called body slamming. This dude got on the bar, launched himself onto two ladies that were enjoying a nice evening out, and they all slammed onto the stage, knocking over my microphone. Then, realizing that his actions might have be ill-received, the young man took off. The ladies were shaken, but otherwise seemingly ok. Later that night after the set, a dude came up to one of us and told us not to worry about the offender, because he had taken care of him by finding him outside and throwing him into some trashcans.
Therefore, in the interest of music-lovers’ health, come to our show tomorrow and help us fill out the crowd so that, in the event of an impromptu crowd-surfer, he might actually get to ride it out.