CONCERT RECAP: Stevie Wonder, Gary Clark Jr, and Janelle Monae @ The Bud Light Hotel, New Orleans, LA 2/2/13

When Rolling Stone and Bud Light join forces to throw a Super Bowl party, you can expect it to be a little more exciting than the usual chips and salsa affair at your neighbor’s house.  What you don’t expect is the chance to see three top notch performers that keep the spirit of rock and roll alive amidst the most commercialized spectacle in the country.  Stevie Wonder, Gary Clark Jr, and Janelle Monae all brought the house down with their impassioned performances that managed to entice even the richest of the rich to get down and dirty with an all night dance party in The Big Easy.

Ms. Janelle Monae, a surprise last minute addition to the bill, took the stage after a brief delay with her band whose black and white wardrobe was the only thing tighter than their impressive musicianship.  As the band kicked into the opening of The Jackson Five’s “I Want You Back,” it was immediately clear that this was a party with a capital P and Ms. Monae was going to get us moving if it killed her.  Leading the band like a female James Brown, Monae danced both onstage and in the middle of the audience as she blasted through a quick six song set.  Monae ended with her entire band laying on the ground, playing their hearts out as their fearless leader belted out notes that undoubtedly made Gary Clark Jr. and Stevie Wonder jealous backstage.

Gary Clark Jr. took the stage solo with the house music still playing and commenced to wrench notes from his guitar like a drunk Saints fan getting a hold of Roger Goodell in a back alley.  After a whirlwind year in which the young guitarist went from Austin, Texas, blues clubs to sitting in with The Rolling Stones, Gary Clark Jr. showed no sign of slowing down.  He started strong with the power blues of “When My Train Pulls In” with loud, extended solos aplenty that got everyone’s attention real quick.   The blistering blues of “Don’t Owe You a Thang” and “Ain’t Messing Around” proved the power not just of Gary Clark Jr, but the entire band as they muscled along alongside their frontman.  Slowing it down for “Please Come Home” was a highlight of the set that demonstrated the man’s versatility as a songwriter that is often overshadowed by his guitar chops.  By the time Gary ripped into the intro of “Bright Lights, Big City” and sang “You gonna know my name by the end of the night,” he wasn’t lying.

Stevie Wonder, the headliner, did not disappoint and chose some party classics to cover along with his own upbeat brand of funk-rock.  “Higher Ground” was certifiably funky, with the ten piece band (including TWO bongo players) pulsing along with Wonder’s smooth voice and keyboard as the lead.  Wonder was ecstatic throughout the set, with big smiles as he welcomed Gary Clark Jr. back onstage to help “Bring The Funk” with a choice Parliament-Funkadelic cover that would make George Clinton proud.  Gary Clark Jr. stayed onstage for the remainder of the set, and was joined by Janelle Monae (introduced as “my dream girl” by Mr. Wonder) for a celebratory rendition of “Superstition” that got every booty in the house shaking and singing along.

After a show like this, with all three artists turning in timeless, irresistible performances, the football game has a hard act to follow. It’s comforting to know that despite the commercial nature of the entire Super Bowl frenzy, there is still a place for real artists to bring people together and have a good time.  Besides, isn’t that what the Super Bowl’s supposed to be about?

Setlists:

Gary Clark Jr.
When My Train Pulls in
Don’t Owe you a Thang
Please Come Home
Travis County
Ain’t Messing Around
Third Stone From The Sun >
DJ scratch jam >
Third Stone From The Sun
If Trouble Was Money (Albert Collins)
Bright Lights, Big City

Stevie Wonder
How Sweet It Is (Marvin Gaye)
Jammin (Bob Marley)
The Way You Make Me Feel (Michael Jackson)
Higher Ground
Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing
Bring The Funk (Parliament-Funkadelic)*
Sir Duke*
Isn’t She Lovely*
Ribbon in the Sky*
Superstition*^

*with Gary Clark Jr.
^ with Janell Monae


February 4, 2013 |  by  |  News, Reviews
About the author

A recent transplant to New Orleans, Shane spends his free time attending as many live events of the musical variety as he possibly can. From brass bands to rock shows, you can usually find him as close to the stage as possible swaying to the beat and sipping an Abita.

Recent Posts
PREVIEW: Ones to Watch presents Portugal. The Man plus Guards @ House of Blues - 6/26/13

PREVIEW: Ones to Watch presents Portugal. The Man plus Guards @ House of Blues – 6/26/13

06/24/2013  |  No Comments

06/24/2013 • WHO: Portugal. The Man plus Guards WHERE: House of Blues - French Quarter WHEN: Wednesday, June 26th - Door 7pm, Show 8pm TICKETS:... more

PREVIEW: Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo plus Brynn Marie @ House of Blues - 6/19/13

PREVIEW: Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo plus Brynn Marie @ House of Blues – 6/19/13

06/17/2013  |  No Comments

06/17/2013 • Who: Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo plus Brynn Marie When: Wednesday, June 19th - Doors 7pm, Show at 8pm Where: House of... more

PREVIEW: Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti plus Purple Pilgrims and Kirin J. Callinan @ Tipitina's - 6/15/13

PREVIEW: Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti plus Purple Pilgrims and Kirin J. Callinan @ Tipitina’s – 6/15/13

06/14/2013  |  No Comments

06/14/2013 • Who: Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti featuring Purple Pilgrims and Kirin J. Callinan When: Saturday June 15 @ 10pm (doors at... more

CONCERT RECAP: Milo Greene plus Cardinal Sons @ One Eyed Jacks - 6/7/13

CONCERT RECAP: Milo Greene plus Cardinal Sons @ One Eyed Jacks – 6/7/13

06/11/2013  |  No Comments

06/11/2013 • Let's take things into the warm crimson realm within the venerable ribcage of the New Orleans favorite, One Eyed Jacks,... more

Toad Comes to Town

05/10/2013  |  No Comments

05/10/2013 • WHO: Toad the Wet Sprocket plus Jonathan Kingham WHERE: House of Blues, French Quarter WHEN: Monday, May 13 - Doors at... more

RECAP: Crystal Castles plus Doldrums @ House of Blues - 4/19/13

RECAP: Crystal Castles plus Doldrums @ House of Blues – 4/19/13

04/29/2013  |  No Comments

04/29/2013 • On a brisk April night in New Orleans, Crystal Castles and Doldrums warmed up the French Quarter with a vengeance.... more

Foals Invade the Quarter This Sunday at House of Blues

Foals Invade the Quarter This Sunday at House of Blues

04/25/2013  |  No Comments

04/25/2013 • WHO: Foals plus Surfer Blood and Blondfire WHERE: House of Blues, French Quarter WHEN: Sunday, April 28 - Doors at 7pm TICKETS: $25.00... more

PREVIEW: Crystal Castles plus Doldrums @ House of Blues - 4/19/13

PREVIEW: Crystal Castles plus Doldrums @ House of Blues – 4/19/13

04/10/2013  |  No Comments

04/10/2013 • WHO: Crystal Castle with special guests Doldrums WHEN: Friday, April 19 - Doors 8PM WHERE: Huse of Blues, French Quarter TICKETS: $31.00 (PURCHASE) ... more

PREVIEW: The New Orleans BINGO! Show @ One Eyed Jacks - 3/29/13

PREVIEW: The New Orleans BINGO! Show @ One Eyed Jacks – 3/29/13

03/27/2013  |  No Comments

03/27/2013 • Who: The New Orleans BINGO! Show When: Friday, March 29 @ 10PM Where: One Eyed Jacks TICKETS: $15.00 (PURCHASE) The beauty of living... more

BUKU Art + Music Project: Official Press Release

BUKU Art + Music Project: Official Press Release

03/12/2013  |  No Comments

03/12/2013 • Freak flags flew along the Mississippi last weekend at the 2nd Annual BUKU Music + Art Project to the delight... more

PREVIEW: Better Than Ezra with Big Sam's Funky Nation @ House of Blues - 2/9/13

PREVIEW: Better Than Ezra with Big Sam’s Funky Nation @ House of Blues – 2/9/13

02/07/2013  |  No Comments

02/07/2013 • WHO: Better Than Ezra presents the 3rd annual Krewe of Rocckus spectacular featuring Big Sam's Funky Nation WHEN: Saturday February 9,... more

CONCERT RECAP: Stevie Wonder, Gary Clark Jr, and Janelle Monae @ The Bud Light Hotel, New Orleans, LA 2/2/13

CONCERT RECAP: Stevie Wonder, Gary Clark Jr, and Janelle Monae @ The Bud Light Hotel, New Orleans, LA 2/2/13

02/04/2013  |  No Comments

02/04/2013 • When Rolling Stone and Bud Light join forces to throw a Super Bowl party, you can expect it to be... more