Mojo Roots are at Cafe Caribe from 6 to 11:30 p.m. every day
On Day 1, we had to check out the new music spots first. Well, actually, I made it to only one new place -- but went there twice, hearing two different acts.
O'Gara's is the splashy, neon-signed bar-and-grill near Snelling Ave (of course) in the old St. Bernard's dining hall. O'Gara's may serve burgers and sandwiches but it feels (and smells) more like a bar. I caught music there in the afternoon (Tim Dahill, who sounded like an Irish Willie Nelson), when the place was packed and too warm (no air conditioning in this garage-door open air joint) and again late at night when the beer was still flowing and the music louder (Wild Colonial Bhoys)..
Both times I was stunned by the acoustics, or lack thereof. It sounds like an echoy airplane hangar. What's it going to sound like when a full band like GB Leighton rocks on Sunday?
I passed by Dino's Gyros' spacious new Opaa at the Fair patio. But the karaoke was already done for the night. If you crave late-night music, head to Cafe Caribe. The hours for Mojo Roots have been extended to 11:30 (they've had to wrap it up at 11 in recent years; I remember the wild years when they played till midnight).
Mojo Roots is a funky party band that mixes blues, reggae, funk, soul, ska, New Orleans music and world rhythms. The music starts at 6 p.m. daily.
Can't vouch for the early sets but whenever I stop by after a grandstand show, this trio has Cafe Caribe hopping. The dancefloor is packed with revelers who must think they're in New Orleans or Florida or Jamaica. Dancers have lights in their hair, hands in the air and shake it all over. The band invites women onstage to dance. It's fun, fun, fun.
Plus, Mojo Roots is solid musically. Markiss, the guitarist, and Art Haynes, the bassist, are versatile singers, and drummer Mick LaBriola is a master of many styles of rhythms. On Thursday, the trio cleverly merged the Commodores and the Doors into a medley, starting with "Brickhouse," moving into "Hello, I Love You" and then back to "Brickhouse." They also did a tasty recasting of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" into a reggae party tune.
Speaking of partying and dancing, if you're at the fair on Friday afternoon, check out the Cajun/zydeco sounds of Geno Delafose at the bandshell at 1 and 2:30. On Thursday, he had Minnesota polka lovers dancing to his irresistible, accordion-driven Louisiana sounds.