Volume 6: New Orleans, LA
Meet Big Tree, a quintet out of Brooklyn, New York with high hopes and empty pockets. Three dashing young men and two friendly ladies make up this indie pop band. We are the luckiest people on the planet. Our job is to drive from one amazing place to the next, play a show, make new friends, and explore new cities. While we’re on the road, FlipKey invited us to share our experiences living like locals everywhere we go.
There is no place like New Orleans, especially when it comes to music. Big Tree scheduled an extra day off in this magical city so that we could take some time to forget about our own music and absorb some of the incredible talent and art scattered all over the town.
We played a cozy coffeehouse uptown on the first night. Neurtral Ground Coffee House is the place to go for dim lighting, bowls of popcorn and goldfish, and open mic nights aplenty. Our sound was way too loud for this tiny joint, and the audience was packed in pretty tight, so we decided to pack up our gear when we were done and take the party elsewhere. Some locals told us that a killer band was playing at one of their favorite venues. “Didn’t we miss the show?” we asked… “It’s already midnight!” They laughed at us and said “Remember where you are! This is New Orleans!”
We drove up several blocks, where it was clear we were far away from tourists and visitors. This was the late night local scene, close to the universities and several neighborhoods. We went inside of the Maple Leaf Bar, where neon lights and the smell of spilled booze set the scene. The Honey Island Swamp Band, a “Bayou Americana” rock group from New Orleans, was playing funky songs about whiskey and women, and the dance floor was packed. We spent the night enjoying the sounds of mandolin, guitar, and saxophone while we got our groove on and drank our local Abita beer. We were all in heaven!
The next morning we got some grub from the grocery store and took it to Audobon Park to enjoy an afternoon picnic. We sat below the old trees covered in Spanish moss, sipping on tall boys of beer in brown bags and getting some sun. While we were there, we got a phone call from a friend of a friend, asking us if we wanted to play another last minute show tonight at the “Tree House.” We had no idea what this place was, but a show’s a show, and we’re always ready for an adventure. We left uptown for the Nola Art House, also known as the Treehouse, somewhere between Treme and the Seventh Ward. When we arrived, we were greeted by several mangy dogs, a huge dilapitated mansion full of 10-12 inhabitants, and a GIGANTIC treehouse made from leftover roller coaster parts and netting. Overhead, the roar of traffic whizzed by on the highway overpass, completing the ambiance.
We set up outside and played on the concrete with the massive treehouse as our backdrop. We were wondering if anyone would come listen, but sure enough, plenty of young people showed up with their own six-packs right before we started playing. We made tons of new friends and climbed through the boughs of these incredible trees, staring up at the stars from man made birds nests, above the traffic.
Since time loses all meaning in this magical place, we decided to spend the rest of our night/morning back down in the French Quarter. We bought some drinks to go and walked to Frenchmen Street, where there are bars and music venues and po’ boys on every corner. We hopped from door to door, checking out what kind of music was at each place. When the sun started coming up, we started heading home, knowing we had to leave this place for our next gig. But somehow, we always end up back in New Orleans, so it’s not really goodbye.