"The Tuesday night Rebirth gig at the Maple Leaf has iconographic standing in the lore of New Orleans nightlife... Something you can count on. No need to consult a schedule.
Long before Katrina, the Rebirth shows at Maple Leaf were where I'd drop in from time to time to remind myself why I live here, why I love here. Why I am here.
For the uninitiated (and if that's you, shouldn't you ask yourself why?) the Rebirth Brass Band is one of the veteran standard bearers of the New Orleans brass-band renaissance and I realize that if you ask me what that means, well . . . I don't know. What is New Orleans brass-band music? Got me. Jazz, I guess, in its basic DNA. Layered with rock influences. Smothered in hip-hop beat and attitude. All rolled together in a scary marching band.
It is an explosion of sound, just drums and horns -- who needs anything else, really? -- and it is the sound of Mardi Gras, of second-lines, street parades and house parties. Of New Orleans.
The Rebirth Tuesday night gigs have been colossal draws for years, crowded, sweaty, throbbing, disorganized affairs packed with Tulane students, downtown hipsters, stiff-collar types and soul brothers.
It is so energetic, so in the groove, so diverse and so perfect that it almost looks contrived, like if a director wanted to create the quintessential bar scene for a movie, this is what he would make.
But Hollywood could never make this. Not on a Tuesday night. And not in any other town.
It's organic. Sexy. Maybe even mildly dangerous -- all that sweat. In the ultimate act of se