The Big Easy in Buffalo Celebrates Mardi Gras Season with Three Shows

NOLA’s John Papa Gros Band joins Five Top WNY Bands

The Big Easy in Buffalo today announced three shows celebrating Mardi Gras season:

Feb 18 – Mardi Graski with LeeRon Zydeco & The Buffalo Touch Polka Band – Sportsmen’s Tavern – two of Buffalo’s best reunite after last year’s sold out show to play separately and together for a special “Mardi Graski” concert that continues The Big Easy in Buffalo’s Cultural Connections series.

Feb. 24 – The Jay#Tet & Folkfaces, the 16th Annual Mardi Gras Jam – DHU Strand Theatre – another Cultural Connections show, modern jazz meets Americana as each band plays their own set then joins together for a set of Mardi Gras favorites.

March 4 – John Papa Gros Band with Randle & The Late Night Scandals – The Cave – founder of Papa Grows Funk and a Big Easy in Buffalo favorite, Gros brings his blend of New Orleans classics and original material that spans r&b, funk, rock, and jam band music.  Opening the show is Buffalo’s own blues powerhouse Randle & The Late Night Scandals.

“Three weeks, three shows, six bands, one great celebration,” Artistic/Executive Director Tod A. Kniazuk said.  “We’re excited to showcase the music and spirit of New Orleans and Mardi Gras through so many different musical styles.”

Information including ticket links can be found at and

Since 2007 The Big Easy in Buffalo has brought New Orleans and Louisiana music and culture to the Western New York region several times a year for free and low cost live performance, as well as music education and mentoring for local musicians, students, and the community.  Through The Big Easy in Buffalo thousands of students, dozens of local bands, and countless audience members in Western New York have been exposed to this unique American culture.  The Big Easy in Buffalo is made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Gov. Hochul and the NYS Legislature, Erie County,, Buffalo Iron Works, Sportsmen’s Tavern, National Fuel Gas Co., and Dick & Jenny’s.


“John “Papa” Gros is a bedrock New Orleans artist, a keyboardist, singer and songwriter who draws on funk, rhythm & blues and Americana songcraft; he also knows his way around the Mardi Gras music repertoire about as well as anyone.” – Keith Spera The New Orleans Advocate. Between 2000 and 2013, Gros led Papa Grows Funk, a highly revered group that mixed hard-hitting funk grooves with often unpredictable jazz spontaneity. The band released six critically-acclaimed studio albums, including Needle in the Groove, which was co-produced by New Orleans legend and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Allen Toussaint. The group’s weekly gigs at the world-famous Maple Leaf became a staple for both locals and tourists alike, eventually leading to Gros touring in far off countries like Japan and Brazil. After Papa Grows Funk dissolved, Gros briefly returned to sideman work, playing organ for a series of all-star tributes to Dr. John and the Neville Brothers. In 2016, Gros returned to the spotlight yet again with his second solo album River’s On Fire, the much anticipated follow up to his 2004 debut Day’s End. Co-produced by Gros and Tracy Freeman (Harry Connick Jr, Rebirth Brass Band, Bonerama), the album’s fiery funk rock showed how Gros had matured as both a songwriter and bandleader. It firmly established Gros’ identity as a solo force. In 2020 Gros released Central City, his third solo album. The album is a collection of classic New Orleans songs, both new and old, filtered through his decades of dedication to his craft.


Randle & the Late Night Scandals steadily increased their loyal fanbase & have become one of the must-see bands in the Western New York region. With an aggressively modern sound that blends traditional blues, soul, funk, and rock & roll, this Buffalo, NY-based band refuses to settle into any single genre, preferring a continuous evolution of original music. The Scandals have shared the stage with many national acts including Living Colour, The Gin Blossoms, Los Lonely Boys, Gord Downie, Giant Panda Guerrilla Dub Squad, Royal Southern Brotherhood, Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, and members of Rusted Root, proving they can please just about any audience. Randle & the Late Night Scandals has played at such legendary venues as the Town Ballroom, Sportsmens Tavern & the Hard Rock Café.


Ron Davis aka LeeRon Zydeco is a professional musician with over fifty years of experience in recording and live performance. His credits include the Four Tops, Spencer Davis, Otis Rush, Bernard Purdie, Sean Costello, and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. In 1991 he formed LeeRon Zydeco & the Hot Tamales. The band was the first in the Buffalo area to blend bluesy Cajun and Tex-Mex music into a roots sound. The group performs throughout the Eastern United States.


High energy, entertaining, a good time, and “plenty of dancing” is how to describe shows performed by The Buffalo Touch. This Award-Winning Polka Band performs music sure to put a smile on the face of everyone young and old alike. The Buffalo Touch has received three Grammy nominations for “Best Polka Album” and were the sole representatives of Western New York at the 45th, 46th, and 51st annual Grammy awards.


Based in Buffalo, New York, and founded by Jacob Jay and Dalton Sharp, the J#tet performs music with a focus on original compositions and arrangements. Inspired by the ensembles lead by the great Miles Davis, the group strives to make every performance a unique musical statement. Past performances include the Northwest Jazz Festival, the Queen City Jazz Festival, the Colored Musicians Club Jazz Festival, and Pausa Art House.


A New York state based roots music quartet, Folkfaces play a mix of original and traditional music. The group takes its influence from weird old American music. An energetic variety show and traveling music review. Exploring a wide range of genres including country blues, traditional jazz, rock and roll, honky tonk, western swing, bluegrass and oldtime, jugband music and more. The music is driven by songwriter and frontman, Tyler Westcott (Vocals, Guitar, Banjo, Harmonica, Kazoo) who founded the band in 2011. The rest of the band has taken many forms over the years, but the current lineup includes multi-instrumentalist and fiddler Brendan Gosson, upright bass player, Patrick Jackson, and percussionist Dan Schwach on drumkit and washboard. Each of the band’s members come from different musical backgrounds, but find common ground in the rare and captivating sound of Folkfaces.