For 20 years now, the members of Egg Yolk Jubilee have practiced in the “Jefferson Orleans North” ballroom in Metairie, performing their songs for what looks like an empty senior prom. The seven current band members set up their gear on the dancefloor. Long white drapes frame the vast main room. In the hall’s center a glimmering chandelier hangs near a spiral staircase that rises to the white heavens. The sound of horns warming up fills the vast space. Behind the band, at every single practice for 20 years, has loomed a full bar. This alone would have killed a lesser band long ago.
But here we are, celebrating the 20-year anniversary of Egg Yolk Jubilee, and the hard-to-describe yet consummately New Orleans band’s closing set at the Lagniappe Stage (5:30 to 6:30) at Jazz Fest on May 4.
I made the sacrifice and drove out to Metry just to listen to them practice their upcoming set. This year will represent only the third time EYJ has performed at Jazz Fest. “I think the last time was in 2008,” sax man and guitarist Paul Grass struggles to recall. “I can’t speak for anyone else in the band, but I can’t remember anything about it. Not even because I was fucked up. It was just so great! I just remember I couldn’t believe I was playing at the fricking Jazz Fest! I remember we pleaded with drummer Charlie Kohlmeyer to play that gig with us and he learned all our songs in two weeks.”
Since then, much has changed for the band, mostly for the better.
In their beginnings, you might have described Egg Yolk as what Zappa woulda sounded like had he procured a wicked New Orleans horn section and concerned himself a bit more with making people dance. They were fast, and they were funny. But EYJ has also always had what they call their “roast beef set” down pat. “The roast beef part of the set list is all the old-sounding stuff, our old originals, like Paul’s ‘Candy Store’ from [1999’s] Champions of Breakfast,” says bassist Mike Hogan. “When you’re playing events, like weddings or Mardi Gras corporate events, there is always the ‘roast beef’ collection of music you’d play while everyone is at the carving table, eating, before they get liquored up. The more trad stuff gets pushed to the roast beef part. Then when they get liquored up you can push into the more experimental territory.” CLICK HERE to read the rest of the article at OffBeat.com…