By Joshua Jackson
The longest running outdoor concert series in Baton Rouge will return to Town Square this fall for another eight consecutive weeks of music. The Downtown Business Association event, Live After Five, brings the Red Stick community together every Friday at 5 p.m. for a night full of dancing, food, and fun—all for free. This year’s fall lineup ranges from rock to pop to country, but all are established acts and some bear strong ties to Louisiana. In its 16th season, LA5 boasted a consistent 8,000-person crowd each week. For season 17, LA5 looks to increase that number while continuing its place as a Baton Rouge Riverfront staple.
Week 1: Sept. 4
AM/FM – Alt. Rock/Pop/Country
Gonzales-based band AM/FM has had quite a career. From touring the country under an independent label to becoming one of Baton Rouge’s top cover bands, AM/FM has always remained focused on the music. The band decided to focus on cover songs as they better showcase its flexibility. AM/FM plays all around the Baton Rouge area keeping pretty busy. With a diverse portfolio of old and new hits to perform at LA5, AM/FM is almost guaranteed to play something for everyone.
Week 2: Sept. 11
Big Sam’s Funky Nation – Funk
A trombonist and New Orleans native, Sammie “Big Sam” Williams first served as the trombone player for popular brass group Dirty Dozen Brass Band until he became the leader for his band, Funky Nation. The Nation is a group of accomplished funk musicians who have come together with Williams to create a wall of horns with hints of jazz and rock elements thrown in. The band has played at festivals like Voodoo Music Experience and Austin City Limits. For those looking to dance to a familiar jazz sound, look no further than the second week of LA5.
Week 3: Sept. 18
The Gillis Silo – Country
While serving with the U.S. Army, The Gillis Silo’s lead singer Caleb Paul wrote songs during his time overseas. When he came home, he formed the rock-influenced country band with other Baton Rouge musicians. Since beginning last January, the band has opened for the likes of Florida Georgia Line and Trace Adkins. Delivering guitar heavy, feel good rock such as its song “She’s My Hurricane,” The Gillis Silo is a band made to be watched with an alcoholic beverage in hand and the sun going down behind them. Both of which can be found at LA5.
Week 4: Sept. 25
Mia Borders – Rock
New Orleans’ own form of Jimi Hendrix, Mia Borders is a road warrior as she often tours and releases music yearly. After a few riffs from her guitar, Borders pulls in her audience and keeps them there with a powerful voice and lyrics that tend to hit the heart directly. From performing at The Kennedy Center for Performing Arts to taking a drive up to Baton Rouge for LA5, Borders is a seasoned performer ready to rock the Downtown stage.
Week 4: Sept. 25
Sista Sera featuring Serabee – R&B/Rock/Pop
Along with Mia Borders, Serabee will perform during week four of LA5. Serabee’s family roots are heavily connected to New Orleans though she hails from Mississippi. With four albums under her belt and a register that can sing anything from gospel to pop, LA5 concert goers will be thoroughly entertained.
Week 5: Oct. 2
Hai Karate – Funk/Soul
Nine men, one stage and a whole lot of horns are what’ll be on the LA5 stage during the first Friday in October. This 70s-themed collective will unload a ton of nostalgia on the audience as they perform hits from the likes of Chicago and Sly & The Family Stone. Though they may be for a bit older crowd, anyone raised on the classics should recognize the renditions of the hits these men will play.
Week 6: Oct. 9
Mike Broussard & Night Train – Swamp Pop
If you’ve lived in South Louisiana, you’ve heard of Mike Broussard. For more than 25 years, Mike Broussard and Night Train have played countless Louisiana events. The nine-piece swamp pop collective, boasts Louisiana Music Hall of Famers, several compilation albums and a sound that’s almost impossible to not dance to.
Week 7: Oct 16
Bag of Donuts – Superpop
Since 1988, the high energy Bag of Donuts has been bringing its antics to stages everywhere. Performing at over 100 live events a year, BOD brings comedy, costumes and music altogether. The band plays almost any genre of music and does so with its own flair. There may be a memorable experience for those in attendance at its LA5 set as the band is very big on audience participation as well.
Week 8: Oct. 23
Wayne Toups – Country/Blues folk/Zydecajun
For the LA5 grand finale, Grammy Award winner Wayne Toups and his accordion will hit the stage. With more than 12 albums and 20 countries worth of experience behind him, the Louisiana Music Hall of Famer will showcase why he’s been dubbed “The Cajun Springsteen.” Toups is the result of when zydeco meets rock and roll and a perfect way to close out a Louisiana staple.