Aaron Cohen Band reaches Tipitina’s stage in Homegrown series kickoff


The band consisting of Tulane students performed as the first show for Tipitina’s Homegrown Concert Series.

Bryce Berman, Contributing Reporter

On Thursday, Sept. 15, F and M Patio Bar may have been a little quieter because of Tipitina’s Homegrown Night Concert Series. The three acts of the evening were Loyola’s Epic Proportions and McKenna Alicia, followed by Tulane’s very own Aaron Cohen Band.  The event was 18+, with no cover charge. 

The Epic Proportions, a blues-funk-rock band, performed “Da Epic Stomp,” “Got to Be a Man Someday” and “Number One,” to name a few. McKenna Alicia followed, with strong jazz vocals and a talented instrumental accompaniment to match—Taylor Mroski on the bass, Nathan Ward on the keys, Chris Anderson on the drums, Adam DeWalt on the trumpet, Michael Gourdin on the vibraphones, Nic Pitti on the saxophone and Foster Lewis on guitar. “Fill Me Up” and a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love” were some of the McKenna Alicia’s strongest performances. 

As the night wore on and the lights dimmed, more Tulanians started to file in to hear fellow students and members of the ACB —bassist Sam Weil, lead guitarist Ari Teitel, singer, songwriter and guitarist Aaron Cohen, drummer Dillon Frazier of the band Sexual Thunder!, trumpeter Aurélian Barnes of New Breed Brass Band and Rob Kellner of Miss Mojo on the keys.

This diverse range of musical background and knowledge created a uniqueness of the ACB that can’t fit precisely in one genre, but is reminiscent of blues, funk, soul, jazz, rock and rhythm and blues. Cohen credits the diverse repertoire of songs to his being raised on rock like The Dave Matthews Band, The Rolling Stones and John Mayer combined with the blues, funk, soul, jazz and rhythm and blues of New Orleans. Weil, Frazier, Kellner and Barnes’s experiences in the music department at Tulane have influenced them to become quite familiar with musical theory, whereas Cohen plays from more of an “instinctual level.”

You may have heard him jamming on your dorm floor or performing “Terracotta,” at a Hillel open-mic night, but now front-man Cohen and his band are gaining a larger following and performing at popular New Orleans venues, like Tipitina’s.

“[Playing at Tipitina’s is] such a milestone,” Cohen said. “A huge honor.”

By coming to New Orleans for college and being exposed to the amazing music scene, Cohen feels he has been able to develop from “Aaron Cohen playing guitar in his bedroom” into “ACB headlining at Tipitina’s,” which has been one of the goals since the band first formed—albeit with some different members—in 2013. Cohen, who studies English, believes this helps a lot with developing content.

“I’m a songwriter more than anything,” Cohen said. 

Overall, the show’s atmosphere was laid-back, with the perfect amount of people—not packed, but far from empty. People stood with friends as they danced and swayed to the music. The vibe shared between audience and performer is one of Cohen’s favorite aspects of performing.

“The best moments are when you forget you’re there, it’s all natural and you’re not thinking about performing,” Cohen said. “I live for those moments.” 

Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled the name of the Aaron Cohen Band’s drummer, Dillon Frazier, as Dillon Frasier. It also omitted its lead guitarist Ari Teitel from the list of band members.

Leave a Comment