By DIG STAFF
Almost everyone associates fall in the South with changing weather and earlier sunsets, but if you ask us, autumn’s most sensational sensory shift is sonic: the crunching of leaves, the crashing of football pads, and, of course, the music.
Summer is a time where Baton Rouge’s music scene cools off as the weather heats up, but the inverse is true come September. The jackets and jeans come out, and so do the bands, from near and from far.
This fall promises to be another spectacular one for the local music scene, and as we do every year, DIG is kicking it off with our guide to some of the city’s best concerts.
By no means is this list definitive, but our coverage all season will be, so keep tuned into DIG and DigBatonRouge.com for the latest on music in the Red Stick.
Allen Toussaint @ The Manship Theatre | September 19
The professor of the piano Allen Toussaint kicks off the Manship’s fall season on Friday. Toussaint’s touch has graced the 88s for decades, but he’s no fading oldster. A pioneer of New Orleans’ delta sound, Toussaint’s influence dates back to the 50s and will surely continue forward for decades to come. Known as The Amadeus of New Orleans, Toussaint has worked with artists ranging from Eric Clapton and Elvis Costello to Outkast and KRS One, connecting with musical audiences of every genre.
Favorite Track: “Southern Nights”
Most Recent Release: Songbook (2013)
Tracy Lawrence @ The Texas Club | September 26
One of country music’s most recognizable names and voices heads to the Texas Club with an oeuvre of hits. With 22 Billboard Top 10s, 18 No. 1s, and 13 million records sold, Tracy Lawrence needs no introduction. The voice behind “Paint Me a Birmingham” and “Find Out Who Your Friends Are” is the rare musician who appeals to multiple generations of listeners, with hits spanning three decades of radio play.
Favorite Track: “Paint Me a Birmingham”
Most Recent Release: Headlights, Taillights, and Radios (2013)
Generationals @ Spanish Moon | October 9
New Orleans locals, Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer were the co-founders of the Baton Rouge based band, The Eames Era. After three members decided that they no longer wanted to pursue careers in music, Joyner and Widmer created Generationals. This indie rock duo quickly gained immense popularity with their debut album Con Law in July of 2009. On September 19, they will release their newest project, Alix. Both members play the guitar and sing, usually backed up by piano/keyboard and drums. Their sound is as graceful as it is peaceful, taking the listener on a relaxed journey through their own thoughts. Joyner and Widmer are able to harmonize superbly with each other, projecting a cohesive sound throughout each track.
In addition to bringing out massive crowds to concerts and festivals around the country, Generationals has seen their music featured in numerous feature films and TV shows, including Suits and Hall Pass
Favorite Track: “Put a Light On”
Most Recent Release: Alix (2014)
Ziggy Marley @ Manship Theatre | October 22
Sometimes, being the son of a legend is too much for an artist to handle. It can either cast a shadow over their careers or serve as an artificial boon to subpar talent. It takes exceptional character and skill to shine in the light of someone as legendary as Bob Marley, and Ziggy Marley has plenty of both. Both a continuation and an evolution of his father’s music, Ziggy has achieved mainstream success and carries forward the message of love and peace in his work.
Favorite Track: “Love is My Religion”
Most Recent Release: Fly Rasta (2014)
Bassnectar @ River Center on October 23
Lorin Ashton, better known by his stage name, Bassnectar, is an EDM giant and has been performing since the mid-90s. He describes his music as “amorphous” and “ever-changing,” which he has displayed throughout his many years of creating. He got his start playing house parties in the San Francisco bay area under the name DJ Lorin, and picked up steam by performing at Burning Man in the late 90s, sometimes as many as seven sets per night. In 2001 he released his first album and in 2002 he began performing under the moniker Bassnectar. Since that time, his popularity has soared through the roof. Today he is arguably the most popular EDM artist in the country, performing at festivals and massive venues across the country including Lollapalooza, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Bonnaroo, Coachella, Electric Daisy Carnival, and Electric Forest Festival. If you are into EDM music – or just into amazing live shows – head down to the River Center on October 23 to witness his entrancingly vivid light show and powerful live performance.
Favorite Track: F.U.N (w/Seth Drake)
Most Recent Release: Noise vs. Beauty (2014)
Better Than Ezra @ L’Auberge Baton Rouge Event Center | October 23
Perhaps no band is as synonymous with Baton Rouge as Better Than Ezra. The 90s alt-pop sensations started their climb to the top on the campus of LSU, and despite their great commercial success, their roots have remained deeply embedded among the stately oaks and tall magnolias of Baton Rouge. After a long recording hiatus, the band has just released a new album this month and is ready to show off the new additions to their canon.
Favorite Track: “Extraordinary”
Most Recent Release: All Together Now (2014)
Flow Tribe @ Chelsea’s | October 24
Flow Tribe began in 2004 with a group of friends playing after school and getting together during the summer. After several months of jamming, the group split up. Hurricane Katrina came and the band decided to pick it back up. The New Orleans natives have been playing ever since. Flow Tribe draws influences from American rock artists such as Sublime and Nirvana and dices it up with that New Orleans back-breaking funk.
Their latest release, an EP titled “Alligator White” contains routy, upbeat tracks such as “Gimme A Line” and “Ooh Yeah.” The band’s sound is booming and their live performance, fronted by vocalist K.C O’Rorke, is nothing short of spectacular.
“It’s always rooted in that groove, that straight to the gut music that Nola provides,” O’Rorke told DIG.
Favorite Track: “Gimme A Line”
Most Recent Release: Alligator White (2014)
Werewolf @ Boudreaux and Thibodeaux’s | October 31
Howl at the moon on Halloween with Werewolf, Baton Rouge’s legendary 80s cover band. The group describes their sound as a “Rocksplosion in your mouth.” We don’t know exactly what that means, but it sounds delicious.
Neutral Milk Hotel @ Varsity Theatre | November 6 and November 7
Neutral Milk Hotel finally returns as they stop at the Varsity Theatre on November 6th and 7th as a part of their reunion. The band shrouded in mystery burst onto the scene in 1996 with their debut record On Avery Island, and solidified their status as indie rock gods with the critically acclaimed instant classic, “In An Aeroplane Over The Sea”. If you’re a fan of rock, or just music in general, catching Neutral Milk Hotel with the lineup that graced their untouchable second record is an opportunity for the ages.
Favorite Track: “In An Aeroplane Over The Sea”
Most Recent Release: Ferris Wheel on Fire (2011)
Eli Young Band @ Varsity Theatre | November 12
The Eli Young Band sports some pretty impressive credentials: three No. 1 hits, a Grammy nomination, and an Academy of Country Music Award for Song of the Year for their hit “Crazy Girl.” Quickly on the rise in the country world, perhaps the best quality of the group’s sound is that they aren’t trend chasers; they’re trend setters, hand-picking their sound and crafting their own place in the often-cliché country world
Favorite Track: “Crazy Girl”
Most Recent Release: 10,000 Towns (2013)
Aaron Neville @ L’Auberge | December 5
Nobody sounds like Aaron Neville. The Crescent City crooner has a sound all his own, once he’s been blessing the ears of audiences worldwide with since the 60s. With four platinum records to his name, Neville is as decorated as any Louisiana musician there is, and his Christmas-time shows are a must-see to close out the fall season and get you ready for the long winter ahead.
Favorite Track: “Everybody Plays the Fool”
Most Recent Release: My True Story (2013)