Monday, January 10, 2011

My trip to The Blue Moon to see The Sons of Voodoo and The Canes by Patty McGehee

My trip to The Blue Moon to see The Sons of Voodoo and The Canes

by Patty McGehee on Sunday, October 31, 2010
I slipped out of Ponchatoula around 4:15, too late to get through Baton Rouge without getting into a traffic meltdown that lasted from the Denham Springs exit all the way to the top of The Mississippi River bridge. I coasted down off the bridge at about 30 mph and by the time I hit the ground the pace picked up to 70. I rocked the car all the way to the Basin Bridge. Once there, I had to slow down to 65 all the rest of the way. That trip was one of my longest times it has taken to get to Lafayette from Ponchatoula ever. It made no difference to me. I had two Drew Landry CD's and a Roddie Romero and the Hub City Allstars CD in the deck to entertain me. After I was up on the Basin Bridge, I picked up KLRZ to entertain myself.

I pulled into the parking space at about 6:45, way too late for my taste. I thought I would have had more time to bathe and relax before this gig, but it did not work out that way.

It took about a half hour to get checked into my room at The Blue Moon because the manager was next door and had to be called to come check me in. That is standard procedure over there when it is not festival times and the place is not booked with a lot of people. I think that there were no bunkers that night, but two other rooms were booked besides mine. The manager showed me all around the place and took me upstairs to my room, which had a bath adjacent to it with a claw foot tub.

Everything was clean and orderly. I felt right at home. They give you door keys so you can come in and out of the building at whim, while the music patrons have to stay outside. I slipped out to the Porch to say hello to Eric Adcock as he was setting up equipment and we exchanged pleasantries. I went back in side and settled in to take a mostly cool bath and dressed for the evening in a short cool dress.

I slipped outside into the heat of the early evening. Eric was out in the yard and he was there with his wife and her BFF. We talked about the Show at The Parish and the Jimmy Buffet benefit for the Gulf show Eric played for last week. Eric said, "I stood up and waved at the crowd and 35 thousand people yelled, waved, and screamed right back at me. It was amazing!" He went on to talk about meeting Allen Toussaint and how exciting it was to talk shop with him.

I wandered around watching the rest of the set up. Billy McDonald was out in the yard talking with the sound engineer. I went and interrupted them. I hope I was not considered rude. I just was so excited to get to talk to him. Billy and I had met previously at the Scoundrels going away party. He knows that I am a fanatic.

So, I was interested in asking him questions. I asked him if he was Bruce McDonald's son ( David Egan's guitar player). He said no. He said his father was James McDonald, which is a Scott/Irish name, but that the family was actually Cajun. I asked him about being so young and on stage. I told him my son, who is a bass player, had actually been frightened one night when a woman kept trying to "pick him up" right after the show he was playing bass in and he was only 14! I had to step in and tell her to go away. Billy said there were all sorts of challenges that they have had to face but that there had been a lot of help from the seasoned older musicians that have mentored them. Billy is only 20 years old, just like my son.

I asked him, Are you going to sing in French?" He said his grand parents spoke French, but, no, he did not, and they would not be singing in French. He said he was in the band with Maegan Berard on Bass and his brother Lane. I told him that Hebert was one of my family names, that my Great grandmother was an Hebert. I said, "Maybe we are cousins," just in a joking manner. (At that moment, I had misunderstood the name and made the stupid comment about being cousins that he graciously ignored.)

The next thing thing I asked him, was, "Why the name the Sons of Voodoo?" He went on to initiate the topic of Geneology, which of course, is of extreme interest of many Cajun people. (Or maybe I did that talking about the Heberts?) He said his family had researched the family and back in the records was a reference to a family line of the name Laveau of which the Great, Great, Great Grandmother was named Marie Laveau. So, he said," We are not sure if it was THE Marie Laveau, of course, and there are so many Laveaus in Louisiana, we just don't know, but my brother Lane and I thought that it was fun name for the band." I agreed.

I mentioned that The Marie Laveau was a Creole, Free Person of Color (not a slave of mixed French and black race) and we talked about talked about how everybody is connected to everybody by family ties in Louisiana. Chances were, they were not related at all. But, racial lines can be blurred in Louisiana by the complicated relationships that existed in the past. In the discussion, I introduced the topic about the refusal of many elderly people to even admit that this was so due to racial prejudice. Billy agreed that this was so.

Billy had a lot to do to get set up so he excused himself. I wandered inside to get cool and go online for a moment or two. I slipped back out to watch the rest of the setup. It was very hot out there on the porch.

The band was about to get started and I slipped off the bench to go to the right side of the stage so I could take pictures without the Atchafalaya sign in the background. It reflects and prevents photos from coming out. I noticed another photographer in my spot and I joked that he beat me out of my spot. He had a fancy Canon rig, four times as costly than my Canon, an SLR with fancy lenses. I bet it weighed a ton.

We exchanged info about the camera and he was very pleasant. I stood behind him and gave him leeway. I figured he was a hired hand. He was very courteous throughout the night. I was able to get the shots I wanted with ease. He left after the Sons of Voodoo finished their set.

The music was very good. It was a mix of three influences. The first was pure Cajun influence. The second was Zydeco, and the third was hard core blues with Lane playing a very good slide. The band shifted between the three influences quickly. Billy would be playing accordion on the Zydeco stuff, and then playing guitar on the Blues stuff. So, part of the time they would be playing two guitars with Lane playing predominately slide.

I only recognized one cover, a blues song, probably traditional. This show was dominated by the McDonald Brothers feeding off each other. I could only imagine the two of them competing for attention from their momma as kids, Lane or Billy. What a hoot. The crowd was would up dancing and many of the people there new lyrics of the songs by heart. It was a fast, fun performance. No slow songs, no crooners. If you ever go to see them, be prepared for a high energy performance. I loved to hear Billy play accordion but then Lane played a mean slide. The two of them together complimented each other on stage, especially when they both had guitars in their hands. Maegan was holding her own, while the drummer kept the the pace.

Take down took just a few minutes. The drummer from The Canes adjusted the drum kit, the Hammond B3 of Eric's had been set up at 6:00 earlier and had sat empty during the first set. It was ready and in place. In minutes the Canes went on. I had slipped inside to cool off and powder my nose. What a treat not to have to use the tiny rest rooms on the porch and to go while in air condition.

This set up was interesting for me. Roddie was playing slide guitar, while Billy McDonald was now playing one of Roddie's accordions! It was all good with this show being dominated by Seth Touchet's vocals. Eric was playing organ during this set and I sure missed the piano but I forgot about that as the show went on. This is a sound that has a groove to it that makes one want to dance, in a rhythmic way, not in a frenzy. It was a very comfortable sound, with highlights time to time on Roddie's slide, or Eric's organ work. Three of the best songs were Evangeline, Wagon Wheels and Canoe, which I think were the last three of the night. I enjoyed it immensely. I am immensely interested in who wrote the songs. My guess is that Seth wrote them. I shot an e mail out to Eric asking him just that, but he is probably sleeping in after two nights of shows!

I decided after the show was over to just go inside and take a cool bath in the claw foot tub. I was covered in sweat and felt really hot. Noise from Artmosphere, the club down the block, could be heard in my room for the next two hours. I relaxed in bed reading the newspapers, contemplating from time to time if I should go down and walk over there. It seemed like too much effort as I had been awake since 6 am and had worked a full day before leaving.

I slept really well and was refreshed and on my way back home toward Ponchatoula by 10:00 am. I drove the back roads for a while looking at the countryside. I stopped in at the legendary Tiger Truck stop. It is legendary because the owner has fought lawsuits over and over for the right to keep a poor tiger in a cage there for a long time. He won last year after agreeing to spend a lot of money on a super cage upgrade. I tried to see the tiger in the cage to no avail. The million dollar cage does not look like a million dollar cage. Hey, but I WAS comparing it unfairly to the six million dollar Tiger cage that LSU in Baton Rouge has.

I went in and got some Community Coffee and a Hubig pie. The service was really fast and the coffee perfect. Thought I had gotten lemon, but accidentally got the coconut and had bitten into it before I realized it. It was tasty, but nothing beats the lemon. I drove on contemplating stopping in to eat lunch somewhere nice, but the pie and coffee was enough. (I bet it was a thousand calories any way. But, I just HAVE to eat a Hubig pie every once in a while. For those of you reading from out of state and don't know, a Hubig Pie is made in NOLA and is ONE PIECE of pie made in a fold over crust and it is glazed in icing like a doughnut, but the icing is hard, Yum! The fillings are wonderful, especially the Lemon.)

I pulled into my yard at about noon. I spent the day relaxing. My son came in from work around 3:00 and by four, we were cooking together spending quality time in the kitchen and I was telling him about my trip to the blue Moon. My husband Dan called at about 8:00 and said that he and Larry were in Lafayette and would be back from their trip to Tulsa in about and hour and a half. I joked with him that the Canes were just about to go on stage at Grant Street Dance Hall in Lafayette and to stay there and catch the show..........He was home in an hour and a half as he said....And before I could tell him about my weekend, I had to hear all about Tulsa, the Robert Plant show, and all about the venue where it was held. I tell you, I don't know which one of us had the best time... .
Maegan Berard
Billy McDonald
Maegan Berard
Billy and Lane McDonald
Eric with Billy in BG
Seth Touchet and Roddie in BG
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  • Mark Bing likes this.
    • Billy McDonald Thank you for the kind words Patty. Nice photos!
      July 18, 2010 at 2:04pm ·
    • Eric Adcock Great blog!
      July 18, 2010 at 2:18pm ·
    • Mary Gale When I read your blog, I'm at the show with you...even way over here on the Left Coast. I have the best time possible, if I can't be at the gig in person!
      July 18, 2010 at 7:02pm ·
    • Johnson's Boucanière great blog (greg the drummer for the canes aka johnson's boucaniere)
      July 19, 2010 at 2:08pm ·
    • Lane McDonald sweet blog! thanks for coming out to the show!
      July 20, 2010 at 8:54pm ·
    • Michael Juan Nunez Incredible band, glad you found them.
      July 24, 2010 at 10:48am ·

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