Grant Street Dancehall returns to its live music roots with a full month of shows in May.
The building is over 100 years old. Built of brick and cypress wood. After getting its start as a fruit warehouse, the building eventually became a live music venue. Grant Street Dancehall officially came into being on July 4, 1980. On that night, the King of Zydeco Clifton Chenier and the Red Beans & Rice Revue played the club. Over the ensuing years, Grant Street Dancehall quickly became the preeminent live music venue in town.
The club found a place in peoples’ hearts. Even its flaws — such as the intense heat in the building during summertime shows — became part of its charm, harking back to the barn dance days of old. Since Grant Street first opened its doors, the stage has been graced by many a legend. The list is long and includes Ray Charles, B. B. King, Muddy Waters, Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jerry Lee Lewis.
The club changed hands numerous times over the decades, with each owner doing his best to keep the live music coming. Around 2007, live music in downtown Lafayette took a back seat to the burgeoning, and sometimes more lucrative, nightclub scene. In effort to keep the bills paid, Grant Street — as well as many other downtown clubs — began catering to the club crowd, hosting well-attended hip-hop themed nights and similar club events.
Cut to 2010. With a resurgence in enthusiasm for live music in Acadiana, a growing contingent of musicians, promoters and fans began making a concerted effort to get live music back into Grant Street Dancehall on a consistent basis. Over the past few months, local musician Drew Landry quietly started booking a number of touring rock and roots shows into Grant Street — Jason Isbell (Drive-by Truckers), Son Volt, etc. — in the hopes that people would turn up. With the news that Grant Street is returning to its roots as a live music club, people have gradually come back for shows at the club.
“There’s no hip hop anymore at Grant Street,” says Landry. “It’s been gone for three months now with no plans to bring it back.” After a two-year period where the club’s primary source of revenue came from the hip-hop Saturday nights, there is now a return to the roots with every weekend in May booked for live music. “This month we’ll see if Lafayette music fans really want to support bigger live music shows,” says Landry. “Lafayette’s a good stopover between Houston and New Orleans for touring bands. And we’re going to bring them in and see what happens.”
Unquestionably, the most high-profile of these upcoming shows will be the appearance of folk singer and guitarist Richie Havens, on May 6, at Grant Street. No one who has ever seen footage of the 1969 Woodstock festival can ever forget the site and sound of the sweat-drenched Havens, soulfully playing his way through a three-hour opening set that included the improvised song “Freedom,” which somehow magically captured the all-idealistic hopes of the 1960s.
Other killer shows slated for May include the dark and twisty death pop of Dax Riggs and the old-time string band Old Crow Medicine Show, which veers from bluegrass to Americana to alt-country. There is no shame in attempting to recapture the old glory days of Grant Street Dancehall. The owners and staff are passionate about continuing the legacy of this establishment, so if you’re a music fan and would like to participate, you’d be well-advised to turn up at any of the following shows being held throughout the month of May at Grant Street Dancehall.
April 30 - Roebucks, Gin & Tonics, Howdies
May 1 - Dax Riggs, Julian Primeaux and his Royal Rowdy Co.
May 2 - The Old Crow Medicine Show
May 6 - Richie Havens w/ Kenneth Richard & friends
May 8 - Family Tree Fundraiser: Cedric Watson, The Canes, Drew Landry, and many more
May 14 - KNEK night
May 15 - Roddie Romero
May 22 - March of Dimes Fundraiser
May 29 - Scott H. Biram, The Freetown Hound
Friends and family will celebrate Spider's life in September.
Saints safety Jairus Byrd has rarely been so eager to hit and be hit, if only to reassure himself that his surgically repaired back is as healed as doctors believe.
Jindal privatized nearly all the LSU hospitals without waiting for federal officials to sign off on financing arrangements that rely on millions of federal Medicaid dollars.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu and her main Republican challenger, Congressman Bill Cassidy, verbally sparred as they officially signed up on the opening day of qualifying for Louisiana's November election.
Superintendent tells crowd he'd just emerged from a four-hour meeting with the attorney hired to investigate him.
A hint of game day glam
The start of the three-day qualifying period for November’s elections has so far yielded 10 official bids and one new announcement from candidates seeking a seat on the school board.
The eagerness shown earlier this week by Lafayette Parish School Board president Hunter Beasley upon receiving a findings report from the special attorney investigating Superintendent Pat Cooper quickly faded once his fellow board members started asking for copies.
It’s been just over four months since attorney Barry Domingue committed suicide the morning before he was to stand trial for a second day in the federal Curious Goods case, leaving his fellow attorney/co-defendant Daniel Stanford with a temporary mistrial and awaiting his day in court.
Candidates for Louisiana's Nov. 4 election must officially sign up for the ballot this week.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's effort to derail Louisiana's use of the Common Core education standards was halted Tuesday by a state judge who said the governor's actions were harmful to parents, teachers and students.
New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram isn't letting a humbling start to his pro career lower his opinion of what he can still accomplish in the NFL.
Phoenix flooding stuns residents; Gaza truce talks collapse, NFL vets defy age label and more national and international news for Wednesday, August 20, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
A vegan and gluten-free bakery tasty enough for any skeptic
In the Pelican State, Benjamin Franklin buys you about $109 worth of stuff.
Visualize Lafayette’s next great thing from 3,000 feet.
A Baton Rouge judge issued a temporary restraining order Monday against enforcing a law that prohibits anyone 70 or older from running for justice of the peace or constable.
Gov. Bobby Jindal believes the last-minute passage of a pension hike for his state police superintendent, Col. Mike Edmonson, was improperly handled, according to the governor's office.
Four bedroom colonial or three bedroom traditional home
Brittan Bush joins Liskow & Lewis, Blake David installed as the Third District Member of the Louisiana State Bar Association’s board of governors, and Simien & Miniex announces 2014 scholarship winners.
“In some cases, we’ve found that these parts are nothing more than used junk yard parts. In others, we’ve found them to be foreign knock-off parts of questionable quality.”
The relaxed fan
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
As the courts hash out the attempts to preserve and shelve Common Core in Louisiana, a group of six state lawmakers are planning an Aug. 22 trip to Oklahoma to meet with their counterparts and strategize for the 2015 regular session.
While hopes are high for turnout this fall, a new report from the Center for the Study of the American Electorate suggests that Louisiana's midterm face-offs may amount to nothing special in terms of votes cast.
The attorney hired by the Lafayette Parish School Board for a special investigation of Superintendent Pat Cooper has submitted his final report, though it may be another week before the findings are made public.
IberiaBank and LHC Group are presenting co-sponsors of the popular luncheon.
Hub City Cycles hits the ground running through small-business center opportunity.