Dig Baton Rouge

Jivin’ into the Fall

By William McCray Sutherlin 

“The most important thing that can be done to help the Baton Rouge music community is for artists and music lovers to spread the word.”

School is back in session, and Jive Flamingo has a tasty concert series to kick of the fall semester.  Founded by Jessica Orgeron, a local patron and entrepreneur, Jive Flamingo began as a local music blog and has now moved into concert production.

“I discovered Baton Rouge had this absolutely amazing local music scene at the end of 2012, almost five years after I moved here,” Orgeron explained.

According to Orgeron, what she expected out of the city’s music and what she got were polar ooposites.

“I was totally shocked. So I started inviting my friends to come to shows and listen with me. And then I made a closed Facebook group to tell my friends about all the great shows. And then I started a blog! It was a very organic – not planned – progression. Along the way I discovered the music community contains many well-kept secrets. I don’t want them to be well-kept. I want everyone to know!”

After a couple years of blogging, Jive Flamingo has expanded and brought on several individuals to help grow the brand. They’ve now moved into show production and promotion, which is a change of pace for Orgeron.

“I don’t really think of myself as a traditional ‘promoter,’” Orgeron said.  “All of the work Chelsea Layne, Ben Herrington, and I do for Jive Flamingo is on a volunteer basis. We started doing events for Jive Flamingo because we felt like they would be a very effective way to achieve the main mission of the blog – getting the word out about our awesome local music scene. Events geared at reaching new audiences like this are super fun to plan.”

It seems that this natural progression could potentially lead to the spawn of a new venue…when asked about this, Orgeron replied, “Yeah, I have definitely fantasized about having my own venue.  Maybe that’s what I’ll do when I retire!”

This year’s Back to School Concert Series will have four nights jam packed with live music.  The first installment of the series will take place on Friday, August 29 at Northgate Tavern and include performances from Moonsugar, Speakeasy, Onion Loaf, and Brass Mimosa.

Moonsugar’s extremely diverse sound spans many genres including funk, punk, raggae, and ska.  The band is made up of Brennan Breaux (drums/vocals), Paul Jackson (guitar), Andrew Moss (funkstick), Rion Mooneyham (trumpet), Melissa Heemskerk (vocals/sax/clarinet), and Garrett Corripio on trumpet.

Next up is Speakeasy, a soulful collective that has won over the hearts of many since winning DIG’s Indiecent Exposure competition at the Varsity Theatre last semester.  The band is made up of Grant Hudson (guitar), Chris Polk (bass), Nick Garrison (Trombone), John Mann V (vibraphone/percussion), and Eli Williams on the drums.

Finally, Onion Loaf is a wild space funk/jam band that brings a serious punch with their live performance.  The group is made up of Ben “Bean” LeBlanc (drums), James “Slime” Hobgood (bass), Eric “Stinky Pete” Peters (guitar, vocals), Zachary “Axis” Friday (guitar, vocals), and last but not least, Chris “Double Dippin’ ” Dibenedetto (keys/vocals).

Brass Mimosa is the only non-local band on the line-up, providing that Big Easy taste of booming instrumentation

The group is made up of Alex Camel (bass), Blake Pujol (guitar), Ethan Mould (sax), Jack Langlinais (drums), and Erick Coleman on the keys.

Recently, Brass Mimosa made their Baton Rouge debut, and they’re looking forward to the return.

“We have been through Baton Rouge once before,” Mould explained.  “It was on June 27th at Chelsea’s Cafe. We were doing a back-to-back show with Electric Attitude on their Solid Gold Tour, and Trailer Hounds was there as well. As first shows in a new city go, it couldn’t have been any better.”

The band has been recording a new album for some time now, and are currently in the process of having it remastered by Grammy award winning Tony Daigle. We should see its release sometime late in the Fall.

“A lot of the beginning ideas for our songs have come from our bassist Alex Camel,” Mould said.  “Usually he’ll come up with a bass line and from there we’ll each write our own part for the song

and start bouncing ideas around the room. Our music is very much so a collaborative effort as each one of us is able to try different things and have our own input into everything we write.”

Drawing in big crowds for local shows has been a problem that promoters and musicians alike have faced for years. With the proximity of a major music like New Orleans just down the interstate, people tend to occasionally neglect local performers in order to catch a touring act.

“In my opinion, the most important thing that can be done to help the Baton Rouge music community is for artists and music lovers to spread the word,” Orgeron exclaimed. “Invite your friends to shows, volunteer to pass out flyers, use social media to tell everybody there’s no need to drive to New Orleans or Lafayette to hear first class musical acts.”

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