There’s an instinctive desire for most New Orleans residents to always look to downtown for a classic NOLA evening. Family friends, wedding guests, and strangers on the street are all directed to the French Quarter on any given day of the week to get a taste of what is truly New Orleans. While this is usually a safe bet, far too often visitors and locals miss out on some of the best-kept secrets of the city happening off of the Canal Street/French Quarter line.
The Maple Leaf is one such spot off the regular beaten path that can often hide in plain sight when heading down the newly-paved Oak Street. It’s usually the massive line outside of Jacques-Imo’s or the BBQ pit smoke from in front of the bar that usually catches the eye. Known as one of the funkiest spots this side of Mississippi, The Leaf showcases legendary performances on a weekly basis – from Mardi Gras Indians to The Last Waltz Ensemble.
Almost every Monday night, Papa Grows Funk sets up shop in the Maple Leaf for two fantastic sets of pure New Orleans funk starting around 10:30pm. This isn’t your daddy’s 70s Commodores Funk either. The music that comes off the stage at the Maple Leaf on a Monday night is a glimpse inside the beating heart of true New Orleans music today.
Papa Grows Funk consists of some of the most respected players on the New Orleans music scene. John Gros, on Hammond Organ, is widely known as one of the best organ men in the entire world. Flanking the opposite side of the stage is the brilliant June Yamagishi who provides some of the funkiest guitar lines this side of the Band Of Gypsys . Marc Pero on bass, Jason Mingledorff on saxophone, and the incredible drum beats of Jellybean Alexander round out this eclectic group of New Orleans funk masters.
Papa Grows Funk can be enjoyed chilling out at the bar with a bourbon and coke or right in front the stage while dancing to the incredible grooves courtesy of Jellybean’s kick drum pedal. At any given point of the evening, these realizations will occur: a.) This incredible music is going down on a MONDAY night b.) This is worth being exhausted at work on Tuesday c.) We live in the most amazing city in the world.
Don’t let your alarm clock intimidate you next Monday for a change. Come out and celebrate the Mardi Gras season with a group that truly defines New Orleans culture: Papa Grows Funk at The Maple Leaf.