Call it civic pride of the first order. Troy Andrews, known to fans of furious funk and roots music as Trombone Shorty, has such a deep and abiding love for the city of his birth that he decided to take a celebration of that city on the road.
Trombone Shorty’s Voodoo Threauxdown stopped by Artpark on Aug. 14, with Trombone Shorty acting as lead ambassador for New Orleans, the birthplace of America’s greatest music and a city where resilience runs as deep as the soulful jazz heritage itself.
It’s a New Orleans tradition to pay tribute to one’s musical elders and colleagues while forcibly demanding that the music embrace the present and look to the future, and Shorty’s Voodoo Threauxdown fully embraced that tradition, offering a bill that included powerhouse sets from the long-serving rotating cast that is the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, the soul-funk maestros Galactic, and guest spotlights from the likes of NOLA blues legend Walter Wolfman Washington.
The Preservation Hall gang brought that storied New Orleans second-line style to the Artpark stage, blending traditional swing and Caribbean rhythmic influences with a fiery, strident strut.
Galactic’s sweaty and inspired set had the crowd dancing in jubilation and was notable for the stellar performance of singer Erica Falls, a virtuoso with the voice of a particularly gifted angel. With the rightly revered drummer Stanton Moore laying down a relentless funky pocket, Falls led the group through a torrid set, highlighted by Washington’s cameo contributions and a soul-funk interpretation of Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone” that had us all gleefully singing along.
We all could have gone happy and satiated by this point, but our host had a different idea. Backed by his killer band, Orleans Avenue, Trombone Shorty hit the stage running amidst a dramatic fog of dry ice and a vibrant light show and didn’t slow up for more than 90 intense minutes.
Blending funk, soul, rock ‘n’ roll, blues, jazz and hip-hop, Shorty and the band smacked us in the face with a style that might rightly be described as arena-funk.
What a night. We all felt that glorious N’Awlins music in our souls.
Trombone Shorty's Voodoo Threauxdown, Aug. 14 at Artpark