The 10 Best Things From Bear Creek’s Return In New Orleans

first_img2. Foundation Of FunkIt’s almost impossible to talk about funk music without hearing George Porter Jr.‘s name mentioned, and for good reason. He and his rhythm partner from the Original Meters, Zigaboo Modeliste are the Foundation Of Funk, and, with special guests John Medeski and Eddie Roberts of The New Mastersounds, the foundations showed how much the godfathers of the groove have left in them. Check out an epic “Cissy Strut” below.3. LettuceWith the past firmly covered, Lettuce came into the festival with a head of steam from a summer of wowing crowds across the nation. The band is a true symbiosis of superstar talent and a complete lack of musical ego that is both rare and amazing to see in action. Taking funk into the future, Lettuce is on the cutting edge of space age super funk, and the appreciative crowd was more than happy to follow them into the outer reaches of the jam. Blast off with the band below: After two years of silence, the mighty heart of Bear Creek beat once again, loud and proud on the Bayou in New Orleans, Louisiana. Bands like Lettuce and Dumpstaphunk that had that championed the beloved festival flocked to Crescent City to once again take the stages at the Bear Creek Bayou Festival, alongside other alumni like George Porter Jr., Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Soulive and The Heavy Pets. With an eye to the future, new acts ranging from The Floozies to The Flaming Lips made their debut, alongside the much anticipated arrival of the mothership that is George Clinton’s Parlianent-Funkadelic.With three stages situated around the waterfront landmark venue Mardi Gras World, Bear Creek picked right back up where it left off. Our own Rex Thomson was allowed to roam the festival and capture what he could photo and video wise and has returned from his funk odyssey with tales of the ten best things he experienced over the weekend. Check out the stories, photos and videos below.1. George Clinton’s Parliament FunkadelicP-Funk’s arrival in the park was long overdue, and the anticipation was well warranted, as the two hour mixture of classic tunes and more modern, hip-hop influenced songs had the crowd dazed, confused and smiling ear to ear. As always the stage was packed, with the old guard from the way back good old days supplemented by a fresh crop of eager musicians, all working to create the finest funk possible. Overseeing this effort was the man himself, George Clinton, bespoke and ready to flow to the grooves being laid down.Check out their stellar version of the classic “We Want The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker)” below: 4. DumpstaphunkAs mentioned earlier, Dumpstaphunk has been a pillar of the Bear Creek spirit, and their two sets over the weekend were easily some of the funkiest sounds laid down over the weekend. Occasionally dueling on the bass with bandmate Nick Daniels, multi-instrumentalist Tony Hall put on a clinic in how to keep things funky. Covering the drummer stool once again, Nikki Glaspie of The Nth Power kept the beat alive for band leader Ivan Neville, whose organ and key board game is as strong as it ever has been. Give a listen to a get down version of the band’s tune “Water” below: 5. Flaming LipsAn old tenant of show biz is “Never follow a kids act,” since any mis-step will invite unflattering comparisons. That said, it’s been decades since the Saturday night anchors The Flaming Lips worried about anyone upstaging them. Since their founding under legendarily sketchy circumstances, Wayne Coyne and crew have pushed the boundaries of fusing art and psychedelia, creating a sonic dream-scape that can be…unsettling. But to the initiated and open minded, each show is a sacred right of love and hope.While some mistakenly focus on the theatrics and the similarity of set lists (They’ve closed with the same song, “Do You Realize,” for more than a decade), what they’re missing is the planned progression of emotional states the band is trying to lead the crowd through. Wayne Coyne is a master at guiding fans along the path of hope and harmony, using musical dissonance as a tool to unsettle and inspire at the same time.From the cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” his crossing of the crowd in a plastic bubble to the endless blasts of confetti from the canons and one-shot launchers he was well armed with, every action taken by Coyne was part of a carefully planned whole. While their music may not be for everyone, their core concept certainly is.The symbolism of his being held aloft in his bubble as he made his way, thanks to the out-stretched hands supporting him, showed what we could all do if we choose to lift instead of tearing down. Ot was a beautiful reminder that we are all in this together. We hold up others now, so that when we need to be lifted, there will be hands ready to raise us towards the stars. As messages go, there are few finer.6. Chali 2na & The House Of VibeAnother long time friend of the Bear Creek, Jurassic 5’s baritone master of flow Chali 2na was on hand with his band The House Of Vibe to kick mad flows and show how much magic could be made melding a live soul band and one of the best rappers of his generation. Using his set to showcase the young in body, not in spirit members of his band 2na showed the science and rapid fire skills that made him a legend were still strong within him. Give a listen to the wicked wordplay he laid out below:7. Zach DeputyThe one man band that is Zach Deputy broke with type and played his first set with his band The Hashtags before doing a more traditional looping set of his island flavored love music. He’s been playing the Bear Creek Festival since his beginnings and he was clearly happy to be back on familiar turf, even if the location was different. It seems a little weird to see Zach not making every little bit of the sound coming from the speakers, but it spoke volumes to his musical dexterity. Have a listen to his full band sound below:8. Karl Denson’s Tiny UniverseThe funky force of Karl Denson was in full effect at Bear Creek, with his whole band stepping up at various point. Guitarist DJ Williams was on fire, even contributing a song from his upcoming record to the show. Denson switched freely between flute, percussion and his trademark sax, all in an effort to serve the song. Fellow sax man Skerik came out to have a spirited guest stretch that morphed into a fierce back and forth between him and his host. Check out the fireworks below: 9. Nigel Hall BandSoul singer, ivory tickler and frequent Lettuce collaborator Nigel Hall provided a fun set of his own tunes and some choice covers to get the ball rolling on Saturday with a well received set. With a couple of last minute subs, guitarist Adam Smirnoff and saxophonist Khris Royal stepped up admirably and elevated the party to even higher heights. Give a listen to his set closing soul surprise:10. The PeopleWhile surely the music is the most important thing to most, attendees of a music festival Bear Creek has become a family affair over the years. After their first visit, most fans fall in love with the festival and count the days between, preparing for the next chance to gather with the families they have built by sharing their mutual loves and, of course, the dance floor. All around the grounds of Mardi Gras World there were people embracing much missed friends, sporting shirts from previous iterations of the fest and making new friends along the way to the next stage.Speaking of the next stage, a pleasant surprise before the Saturday night headliner The Flaming Lips was the staccato sound of one of New Orleans’ finest traditions, a drum line marching through the grounds. Music fans eager to enjoy the very visceral experience of seeing music made inches away were delighted to find that the source of the sweet sounds was The Roots Of Music, a band that exists as the public face for a local non-profit that uses music and musicians to help steer at risk youth away from the pitfalls of life in an admittedly tough town like New Orleans.While a portion of VIP ticket sales were allocated to this fine cause, their hat was filled by appreciative on lookers as the band showed chops far exceeding what one would expect given their ages. Check out what is surely the first steps of the next generation of funkateers below:This is just a small sampling of the highlights that popped off all over the grounds over the course of the two days of the funktackular return of the Bear Creek Music Festival on the bayous of New Orleans. The spirit of the festival was as strong and as true as ever with familiar faces greeting first timers in the crowds and on the stages with love and fellowship. Seeing the embers of the festival reignited into a raging blaze of musical fury was a truly welcome sight, and the future looks funky indeed.last_img read more