Honey Island Swamp Band brings New Orleans to Cloverdale

On Friday, June 2, the Cloverdale Arts Alliance kicks off its Friday Night Live free summer concert series with the Big Easy’s new favorite sons, the Honey Island Swamp Band.

Take a late-night stroll through downtown New Orleans and you’ll hear a thousand flavors of music spill from the clubs. Spin this group’s latest album, meanwhile, and you will hear a band that embodies that eclectic spirit. “There are songs here for every mood, occasion or playlist,” explains Honey Island Swamp Band’s Aaron Wilkinson, “so it will appeal to a lot of musical tastes. Just make sure you turn it up loud.”

Released in 2016 on Ruf Records, Demolition Day is the band’s fourth full-length studio release and marks a milestone in their career. The album title cuts deep. It is just over a decade since Hurricane Katrina tore along the Gulf Coast, plunging New Orleans into devastation and throwing together four Big Easy evacuees who found themselves marooned in San Francisco.

Ten years and a thousand gigs later, the Honey Island Swamp Band continues to add its inimitable thumbprint to most of the great American genres. There’s spring-heeled slide blues, upbeat funk, cathouse piano and country-fried guitars. “We’re diverse and complex people,” Wilkinson says, “and our audiences are as well. So we try to let our music reflect that.”

The best way to enjoy Friday Night Live:

The festivities begin at 6 p.m. when the Street Fair opens with meals-to-go; sweet treats; wines and craft beers; locally crafted art, jewelry, clothing and wellness products; and kids’ activities. Food booths at the Street Fair offer a wide variety of delicious meals. With choices from pizza to risotto, BBQ oysters to lamb gyros, there is something for everyone. Local restaurants are also open for early bird and late night specials.

The music starts at 6:30 p.m. Arrive early and bring your own lawn chair as seating is not provided. The concert seating area is limited.

Craft beer, local wines, and non-alcoholic beverages are available for purchase by the glass. The conditions of the ABC permit for Friday Night Live do not allow outside alcoholic beverages at the concerts. Dispose of any alcoholic beverages purchased at the shows before leaving.

Friday Night Live at the Plaza is produced by the Cloverdale Arts Alliance. Underwriting support is provided by generous local individuals, businesses and wineries.

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