Friday, February 20, 2004
Feb. 24 is Fat Tuesday, otherwise know as Mardi Gras, so what better place to be than at the feet of a down and dirty New Orleans band such as John Lisi and Delta Funk.
Mardi Gras festivities continue until the stroke of midnight Wednesday, when Lent begins.
Those celebrating Mardi Gras don't want to think about the world's problems. They don't want to be bogged down by overly complicated music. All they want is to have fun before the season of Lent -- 40 days of soul searching and repentance -- begins.
John Lisi and Delta Funk offer a night of nothing but fun.
"We're not the kind of band who wants to save the world one song at a time," Lisi said. "We're just trying to have fun."
Even when Lisi sings the blues, he writes the lyrics in a humorous way. His influences come from a mix of old James Brown-style funk and roadhouse blues from the Mississippi delta.
"It's in-your-face blues," Lisi said. "It's not crying in your cup blues. It's the kind of music to listen to if you want to dance and drink 47 beers."
Lisi grew up in New Jersey but always passed through New Orleans as he toured with various bands.
"My feet felt good down there," she said. "I always knew I was going to live in New Orleans."
He moved to the city with a well-worn slide guitar, an instrument he picked up in junior high, and a deep bluesy voice.
His current band, Delta Funk, includes "Alabama" Dave Waldrop on drums and Scott "the funky hippy" Jackson on bass and backup vocals.
Like many bands, they are touring on a tidal wave of energy headed toward Jazz Fest. They plan to release their newest album, "Can you dig it?" a week before Jazz Fest.
The album is full of songs written on the road.
"The music is leaning toward a slamming-in-your-face, get-up-and-groove kind of a thing," Lisi said. "Everything starts with my approach to the guitar. I like to push the guitar out there and take care of business."
For its live shows, Lisi said, the band lets "the crowd steer the ship." They have no set lists. "We will play for four hours or more straight without breaks. If the crowd is into it, we just go for it.
"You paid to get in. You are going to have a good time."