The Story 

Coming from the Crescent City, the Stooges Brass Band is steeped in the tradition of street parties and second line parades. Their exhilarating show, combing jazz, hip hop and the New Orleans brass band tradition, has earned the group raves at such festivals as Bonnaroo, South by Southwest, American Folk Festival, High Sierra Music Festival, Essence Music Festival, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and New York’s Lincoln Center Our Of Doors series. The Stooges have also been ambassadors for the New Orleans brass band sound abroad at Scotland’s Edinburgh Jazz Festival, Durham Brass Festival in the UK and Tremblant Blues Festival in Canada as well as a U.S. State Department-sponsored tour of Pakistan. 

Formed in 1996 after bandleader Walter “Whoadie” Ramsey saw a performance by the Rebirth Brass Band, The Stooges a New Orleans group known for injecting modern elements into the city’s age-old brass band and second line tradition. The band name evolved out of their stage antics — the band is known and adored for clowning during the shows, mugging at the audience, group dancing, inciting passionate call-and-responses. “From the beginning, we were always acting funny, always cracking jokes,” Ramsey told New Orleans Gambit magazine. When one of the band members referred to the rest as “a bunch of stooges,” the name stuck. Since its inception, the Stooges Brass Band has fostered the growth of many of the Crescent City’s best known brass band musicians. Alumni include Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, Big Sam, Ellis Joseph of The Free Agent’s, Hot 8 snare drummer Sammy Cyrus and bass drummer Dwayne Williams, to name a few. “About 35 musicians have come through us,” says Ramsey. “We’re like brass band 101.” 

The Sound 

The Stooges’ brand of raucous, high-energy party music, exemplified by their energetic renditions of “Wind It Up” and “Where Ya From?” and other tunes from 2016’s Thursday Night House Party, is contagious and guaranteed to get booties shaking on the dance floor. Whether second-lining in the backstreets of the Crescent City or performing their spirited stage show at festivals all over the world, the Stooges Brass Band delivers an authentic New Orleans celebration.

Where & When: Nauti Spirits Stage in Carney’s Main Room, Saturday + Sunday

Michael Kline