Weather - usually the bad, wet, turbulent kind - has often been the story at iFest. But the story this year is that in spite of the threat of rain in the forecast, both weekends turned out to be everything promoters could have hoped for weather-wise. As the sun set Sunday, a brisk late spring north wind straightened the flags on top of the surrounding buildings against a blue, cloudless sky as the final strains of the Rebirth Brass Band fell away at the Louisiana Stage. It truly couldn't have been a more glorious ending to the annual festival. And while missing two members from their usual lineup, the Rebirth, which our compadre "Third Degree" Burns calls the gold standard of brass bands, brought the funk throughout a set that lit a fire in the feel-good crowd and brought on the usual dancing antics among the faithful.
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As always, the band worked its way through a tradition-laden set of New Orleans standards covering everything from "Big Chief" to Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" interpolating, gyrating, and syncopating like ghosts from Congo Square all along the way.
Rebirth followed Lil Brian Terry and the Zydeco Travelers to the stage. Between the Travelers' electric zydeco and the Rebirth's brassy swing, listeners got a lesson in just how wide and deep the Louisiana strain of funk truly is on this lazy Sunday afternoon. It turned out to be, climatically and musically, about as perfect as we ever get on the Third Coast.