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As Things Stand, NOBS Could Well Be Right

May 21st, 2011

In the many months since my blogging activity trailed off, I’ve become a devotee of the New Orleans Bingo! Show. In my more enthralled moments, I don’t think of them as the best artists working in New Orleans; I think of them as the ONLY artists working in New Orleans. Yes, that’s ridiculously untrue and unfair to the carnival of brilliance in which we live, but the Bingo gang just knows how to stir me.

I’ve been to multiple shows over the past few years, the first of which was at Voodoo Fest in the fall of 2009, when I wandered into their show while I was chaperoning my then 17-year-old (who needed some chaperoning). Until recently, at the 4 or 5 shows I had seen, Bingo! opened every time with “New Orleans,” a graphic and rousing description of our city streets at their disgusting best. It always got the crowd off to a great, drink swaying start.

AT their 2011 Jazz Fest show, however, Bingo! started with a new song from their newest album. It’s “Memory Parade,” a slow, wistful-sounding song. Hearing it live, I didn’t really get what it was about. During the show, Clint Maedgen, the lead singer, talked about our disappearing wetlands and yelled out to the crowd, “New Orleans! Get it while you can, y’all!!”

I’m embarrassed that it wasn’t until this morning that I listened carefully to the song “Memory Parade.” It’s an amazing bookend song to “New Orleans,” as the latter song really captures what the streets of the city have been like since the early 1990s. “Memory Parade,” however, looks beyond the streets to notice that the whole city is under threat. We all seem to know it, and nobody seems sure exactly what to do about, given the short-sighted politics and economics of our city, state, and nation in these times.

“It’s understood,
It’s understood,
All of this is gonna wash away.”

For some, this might be a fatalistic and depressing song. For me, it’s a placemarker, a line being drawn here, a motivator.

I hope this day and my finally listening to that song is the start of something good for me.

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