I arrive at Gasa Gasa on Freret Street around 9 pm. This is probably my favorite spot to go when seeking live music, especially because of its ever eclectic band schedule. In the past, I have gotten my music fix here, seeing everything from a 70s throwback band to a Death Metal Show. The bands are always great, the crowd, always a good spirited one, and the ambiance and decor, as shown here, is one of a kind. I knew, like every night out at this intriguing club, this one would be a night to remember.
After hovering in the courtyard, mingling over cocktails and cigarettes, the other patrons not yet inside as well as I begin hear music begin and file inside to catch the first of two opening bands for the headlining duo, The Body. The show begins with an intense, suspenseful, nouveau Richard Wagner style overture. Not one person in the crowd makes a sound or moves a muscle in anticipation until the first band of the evening kicks in full throttle.
After the first band, a darkly psychedelic electronica band begins with a mix of their music and clips of interviews with the serial killer, Aileen Wuornos. At first, my boyfriend thought I was being morbid guessing that was whose voice we were hearing but, like our mother, my sister and I are true crime buffs. Then many of the female audience members begin to chant, “Aileen! Aileen! Aileen!” I proceeded to say, “I told you so ad nauseum. A guy seemed to be making an attempt to cross the venue from our corner near the bar to the one on the opposite side of the packed main floor area, retreating out into the courtyard, only to return a moment later in the same manner. I notice the tentative look in his eyes and assure him that none of the women in the crowd were going to murder him or anything of the sort. He then finally began his journey through the crowd, of course making it out unscathed.
The Body begins to play around midnight and the Portland, Oregon based two-man band, originally from Rhode Island, certainly prove that they are more than worth sticking around for after we’ve thoroughly enjoyed the opening sets. Their music is multi-influenced hard rock, the sort I would absolutely have started a mosh pit during if they weren’t playing a chock full house. Afterward, I asked the two men, Lee and Chip a few questions which they both answered as a pair.
Q: Of all your musical influences what were the bands that inspired you the most growing up?
A: For me, probably the beach boys… slash Brian Wilson, Kate Bush, and Fleetwood Mac. I might need to throw Electric Light Orchestra in there.
Q: How long have you guys been playing together?
A: This year, I think it has been 19 years.
Q: Where was your first official set?
A: Well we originally started playing in Arkansas, that’s where we both are from. When we first started it was pretty… well it was a lot different (he laughs and says euphemistically).
Q: You actually played shows in Arkansas?
A: Yeah we played there, it was quite a different vibe and it was like that for a while… until we moved to Providence.
Q: What have been your top three favorite places to play in your experience?
A: It’s different every tour… We liked New York this time, Philly is always a lot of fun, and of course Providence ‘cause we used to live there.
Q: What is one of your favorite things about New Orleans?
A: New Orleans is the weirdest city, literally no other city like it. I would say I probably love the food the most, and because we’re both from the south and New Orleans is pretty much the most “southern” southern city we appreciate it.
Q: When did you guys meet?
A: That’s a good question, well Chip is 4 years older than me, so we met when I was maybe like 16.
Q: You guys were playing music way back then?
A: Well we started playing 1999 so I would have been about 22.
Q: Do you have any amusing stories from touring?
A: One time when we were playing this warehouse show in Asheville, NC there was this dude that was known around town as the dude to not let into the show right, ‘cause everyone knew who he was and of course he tried to come to our show and the door guys are like “no way, you can’t come in, you know the deal.” So he gets mad, gets in his car and drives to the top of this hill. Me and Chip are just watching him the whole time as he comes back down the hill and drives right past a police barrier so the cops block him in and drag him out of his car and arrest him, meanwhile he’s yelling at the venue “I’m the truest punk there is!” as he’s getting slammed to the ground by a hoard of cops.
After the interview, we wish the band members luck, say our goodbyes to some friends who also attended the show and head home, again, incredibly pleased with our trip to Gasa Gasa. It is a spot that, if you have not yet checked it out, you should definitely add it to your to-do list for the weekend.