Wednesday Wine & Song nights at the Blue Guitar on Arroyo Seco Gold Course are usually devoted to singer-songwriters with stories to share, so next Wednesday’s evening with the NOLA Resistance is “very special” indeed. But it makes some kind of sense when considering the New Orleans ensemble’s self-titled album, released last month.
The bulk of the 11 tracks comprising “NOLA Resistance” are covers of classic social protest songs delivered with dueling sax and guitar solos, polyrhythmic percussion, and guest performances by the likes of Meters lead guitarist Leo Nocentilli and blues guitarist Kenny Neal. A faithful reading of Marvin Gaye’s “You’re the Man” is followed by a sparkling delivery of Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi,” which unexpectedly gives way to a second-line beat and a choral sing-along, and then a funky take on the Beatles’ “Come Together.” The soulful grit of Stephen Stills’ “For What It’s Worth” as well as Sly & the Family Stone’s “Family Affair” is blunted by slick arrangements, but the band’s range is displayed during renditions of Bob Marley’s “War” and Gil Scott-Heron’s iconic “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” updated as “The Resistance Will Not Be Televised” against a jazzy backdrop of flutes and drums.
“You will not be able to lose yourself in blunt smoke and
downed apple pie shots while bingeing on scandal,
because the resistance will not be televised. …
The resistance will not show you pictures of Trump tweeting a lie
and leading a charge by Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham and Paul Ryan to eat
chitlins confiscated from a vegan sanctuary. …
There will be no pictures of cops shooting down unarmed brothers in the instant replay. …
There will be no slow motion or still photos of Clarence Thomas dozing off in court
while our civil liberties are being stripped away.”
Commentary on Facebook, Trump and “Empire” replaces the original’s spoken references to Xerox, Nixon and “The Beverly Hillbillies” before the song closes with an extended rap. Lesser-known tracks honor family and neighborhood resilience while lamenting gun violence, divided communities and disintegrating cultural traditions in robust settings evoking New Orleans’ stylistically diverse heritage. Coming from veteran musicians who’ve played together in various configurations in the 14 years since Hurricane Katrina, the music suggests theirs is a story of resilience as well as resistance.
Wine & Song presents A Very Special Evening with NOLA Resistance at the Blue Guitar, Arroyo Seco Golf Course, 1055 Lohman Lane, South Pasadena, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4; $25. Tickets: deepmix.thundertix.com/events/161693/saleable_seats?performance_id=2465161. (The band also performs at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown LA the following night, Dec. 5.) nolaresistance.com, blueguitar.club