Stevo Jams with Jeffrey Broussard and the Creole Cowboys @ Mexicali Blues

Jeffery Broussard brings Mardi Gras to Teaneck By Jay Lustig/The Star-Ledger February 13, 2010, 7:03AM Danielle Richards/For The Star-Ledger Mardi Gras season always brings a smattering of Louisiana-themed concerts to New Jersey. But Teaneck's Mexicali Live nightclub, following the Mardi Gras precept that more is always better, is going one step further with a three-day Mardi Gras mini-festival that began Thursday and ends tonight. (Mardi Gras itself takes place on Tuesday.) The shows are being presented by the Crawfish Fest, the annual celebration of Louisiana music and food that takes place every summer in northern New Jersey. (This year's is scheduled for June 4-6 at the Sussex County Fairgrounds in Augusta.) The club is presenting two bands a night (the High and Mighty Brass Band and Mojomo are on tonight's bill), plus a menu filled with Crawfish Fest favorites like crawfish étoufée, alligator sausage, jambalaya and shrimp creole. The club was festively decorated, and there were complimentary beads and masks on the tables for Thursday's show, featuring Jeffery Broussard and the Creole Cowboys, and Livingston Leo. Broussard and the Creole Cowboys, who will perform on all three days of June's Crawfish Fest (along with artists like Taj Mahal, Galactic, Marcia Ball, the Iguanas and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band), are a high-energy contemporary-zydeco dance band led by singer-accordionist Broussard. They were joined, for the first half of the show, by Steve Riley on fiddle, and throughout their set by Steve O. Nelson of New Jersey's H.P. and his Hot Take Out Band (and formerly of Swampadelica) on washboard and percussion. Broussard and his bandmates seemed thrilled to be sharing the stage with Riley, a giant on the Cajun music scene, and clearly got a kick out of Nelson's propulsive beats, giving him lots of soloing room. The band played songs by zydeco artists like Rockin' Sidney ("My Toot Toot") and Buckwheat Zydeco ("It's So Hard To Stop"), but also material associated with Sam Cooke ("Bring It on Home to Me," spotlighting Broussard's yearning vocals) and Little Richard ("Keep a-Knockin'," as an amiable shuffle). Late in the set, things got really loose with some straight-up blues ("Don't You Lie to Me," sung by guitarist Mark Sellers) and a makeshift medley, including parts of "Harlem Shuffle'' and "I'll Take You There" and featuring bassist Classie Ballou on lead vocals and Broussard on drums. Opening act Livingston Leo is -- as you may have guessed -- a New Jerseyan. But he and his blues-rock band fit right in with complex, multilayered rhythm arrangements (Nelson helped out in this area, guesting on a few songs), several that used barbecuing as a metaphor, and a cover of New Orleans music icon Earl King's "Always a First Time." Crawfish Fest Mardi Gras Party with the High and Mighty Brass Band and Mojomo Where: Mexicali Live, 1409 Queen Anne Road, Teaneck When: Tonight at 8 How much: $25; call (201) 833-0011 or visit What else: For Crawfish

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