Here comes Mardi Gras. Way down yonder in New Orleans Mardi Gras, aka Fat Tuesday, is much more than just one day this week. It’s a season. It’s this weekend. And it’s this Tuesday. There are parades and parties all over town in New Orleans. Here in Chicago all of that fun and revelry gets boiled down to one festive evening, a great reason to go out and have a good time with world class live music and dancing and good, fun food on a school night. In the Chicago area the music venue that is most closely associated with New Orleans music, food and culture since their inception over thirty years ago is Fitzgerald’s Nightclub in Berwyn. This year on Mardi Gras they’ll be celebrating with some of the best, fun Chicago blues acts because this year Mardi Gras will also be a benefit. It’s never good news when the blues community needs to come together for a benefit, but, man, does it make for some good shows. Now a Chicagolander, Tim Betts is the guitarist for CJ Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band. He had medical issues last year that cost him time in a hospital and a good deal of medical bills. He was nearly recovered from the health problems and the bills when he was hit by a car while riding his bicycle. Now there are more medical bills on the way. While we raise the roof on Mardi Gras we’ll raise some dough for Tim.
So let’s party for a cause this Tuesday at FitzGerald’s! The evening begins early, 6:00pm.
ROY RUBINSTEIN’S CHICAGO HOT 6 (6-8 p.m. in the club, with a final set at 8:15 in the SideBar): The evening begins with traditional jazz that says New Orleans through and through. With Roy Rubinstein on trombone, Sarah Spencer on tenor saxophone, John Skillman on clarinet, John Kuncl on banjo, Art Hovey on bass and Mike Albiniak on drums. The repertoire includes standards, as well as little-known numbers.
BROTHER JOHN (8 p.m.): John Kattke, a.k.a. Brother John, is a vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist. His back-up band usually consists of drums, bass, trumpet and tenor sax. Repertoire ranges from classic rock, New Orleans, Latin, R&B, blues, swing and instrumental jazz, etc.
LIL’ ED & THE BLUES IMPERIALS (9:30 p.m.): Mixing smoking slide guitar boogie and raw-boned Chicago shuffles with the deepest slow-burners, Lil’ Ed and his blistering Blues Imperials — bassist “Pookie” Young, guitarist Mike Garrett and drummer Kelly Littleton — deliver the blues, from gloriously riotous and rollicking to intensely emotional and moving.
As a special treat on this special night, Lil’ Ed welcomes guest RONNIE BAKER BROOKS, son of blues great Lonnie Brooks. Ronnie’s unique mix of Chicago blues, funk and rock has packed the house at FitzGerald’s on many a Saturday night!
Plus, there will be food, hurricanes and lots of beads! “Festival” Tom Cimms will be on hand with Louisiana specialties including jambalaya, gumbo and classic NOLA po’boys. So come hungry.
See you Tuesday. Laissez les bon temps rouler.