Tuesday, 12 October 2010


New Orleans.  Oh how we miss you with your stormy cocktails, haunted houses and howling horns. After watching ZZ Top and Tom Petty and his Heartbreakers in Dallas we drove all night (9 hours) to reach NOLA.
Hell, we can sleep in the day and, by golly! "we've got a gig in 12 hours?"  Tommy, Bat and Henry took shots of powerful hyper-caffeine juice, and Huck and I rolled in and out of consciousness making sure everything was in order. "Yerp! Argghh." We crossed the Eads Bridge as the sun rose. I rubbed the half sleep from my shrew eyes, looked out and saw that we'd finally made it to "The Big Easy". 

Central New Orleans feels massive when you first arrive.  We trudged to our first gig at Checkpoint Charlie's (at least the beer was cheap) I felt I'd never find my way around this place.  But little did I know, it was yet another grid city, and I do love my grids. After a day it was a pleasure to be able to walk everywhere instead of drive for ages just to have breakfast.  We were nicely settled for 5 days in NOLA and there was gumbo to be munched and beer to be drank.  It was like a vacation on vacation. 

Shouts of "Who Dat!" bounced around the french quarter. "Who is that?" We pondered... It wasn't long before a busty, blonde bar maid explained that it was the chant for The Saints, the local football team, who had a game that weekend. The response? "Ain't Nobody!" of course, and we joined in all the way to the next bar. Well, when in Rome...

The Hurricane's flowed and we found ourselves squished into The Spotted Cat for a bit of swing-time. Little did we know but we were in for a treat. I  asked a fellow punter for a light. By a stroke of luck it was Mr Mike Menke - and he informed me that the band about to come on was Davis Rogan (of "Treme" fame) and his amazing band.  It was a "totally awesome show, man WHO DAT?" Well, it would be after a night full of Hurricanes. The evening rolled into the morning and all I remember is ending up in some rock bar playing pool whilst Henry and Tommy snuck pickled gherkins into Bat and Huck's beers. "Cheers!"

The Circle Bar was a fantastic place, situated on the only round-a-bout I saw in America. The atmosphere was warm, friendly and quite rowdy.  There was a smattering of fine bands and it was shaping up to be a great gig, our final one in NOLA. The crowd seemed to like us and even danced to Christine. I didn't know it was possible. We were followed by one of the best bands I've seen for ages, Agent Ribbons. Our new pal Mike came along to see us, and recorded the whole thing too - so be prepared for The Fee's US sessions coming soon to a Woolworth's near you.

So how does one top of all that before flying to New York? Well, an afternoon in a swamp feeding marshmallows to alligators and an evening listening to traditional jazz in Preservation Hall seemed like a good idea. "Argh, big lizards playing trumpets!"