Preview: Traffic Jam @ Sonar (2009.09.05-07)

Jammin' in the Streets

Jammin' in the Streets

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01. MP3: Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk w/ Skerik – I Cannot Make It (Sly Stone), Live @ Tipitina’s in New Orleans (2009.05.30) via Internet Archive

02. MP3: Medeski, Martin & Wood – Flat Tires from Radiolarians II (2009)

This Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, Sonar will be hosting a brand new late summer festival called Traffic Jam. That’s right, Herby Nuggz, it’s like I’m speaking directly to you through my computer.

For a brand new festival held at a single venue in the heart of a major metropolitan area, the lineup is stellar. Moreover, the setting should seem positively intimate compared to other ultra-mega summer festivals. There will be an outdoor stage — the weather report looks clear so bring sunblock rather than umbrellas — as well as two indoor stages.

Looking at the schedule, there are many overlapping acts to choose from but I was very pleased to see that prime time Saturday and Sunday are outdoor stage only to showcase the headlining acts. It’s quite upsetting realizing you have 4 minutes to run half a mile from stage A to stage B only to catch the very end of a killer set.

Since it’s already 60 bones for either Saturday or Sunday, you might as well get the $75 Mega Pass. As for me, I think you can’t go wrong at the outdoor stage with Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe and Medeski, Martin & Wood followed by Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk in the main room.

MMW are coming off the three-run Viva La Evolution Tour and subsequent release of Radiolarians I-III, a three-disc series of live music performed on tour based on tunes written during the previous year. This is the opposite of how things are typically done (touring in support of a studio album). They have had all year to get these tunes crisp, so look for them to bring their A game.

Dumpstaphunk is the perfect closer for Sunday. In addition to Ivan Neville, the entire group has genuine New Orleans funk cred. Plus they’re fun, their harmonies are tight, and they keep you dancing.

Expert Tip: Baltimore Farmer’s market runs Sunday morning under 83, 8:00 am to 12:00 pm (or sell out). Not a bad place to grub before the long day ahead.

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