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MUSIC

Ryko Presents: Tipitina's Foundation Benefit Concert
8 p.m. Fri., Aug. 18
Tipitina's, 501 Napoleon Ave., 895-TIPS; www.tipitinas.com

Indie label and distributor Rykodisc is in New Orleans this week for its seventh annual convention, which will explain the sudden boom in attractive young people with cool jobs haunting the bars. Besides significantly enriching the dating pool, if briefly, for the 25-40-year-old rocker set, Ryko is also hosting a blowout concert to benefit the Tipitina's Foundation, which, among other things, is donating more than half a million dollars worth of musical instruments to New Orleans public schools. Good cause, good show. It's also the first time Ryko is holding a convention event that's open to the public. The lineup is a tasty buffet for the alt-rock crowd. Representing the inde-rock alumni association are Jay Bennett, formerly of the seminal experimental alt-country band Wilco and Miho Hatori, formerly of Japanese chick-rockers Cibo Matto. Also on the bill is Elf Power, the Athens, Georgia-based folk-rockers, who weave dark, haunting melodies with guitar, piano and cello, and the quirky pop of comic-book artist James Kochalka Superstar. Mira Aroyo and Daniel Hunt, half of the UK foursome Ladytron, will close down the night with a live DJ set. Tickets $15. — Alison Fensterstock

MUSIC

Classie Ballou
10 p.m. Fri., Aug. 18
Circle Bar, 1032 St. Charles Ave., 588-2616

Classie Ballou's early guitar work made him one of the top R&B men in southwest Louisiana, but he also showed he could cover a lot of territory. That's probably why his band, the Tempo Kings, was tapped to help Boozoo Chavis record the 1954 breakthrough zydeco tune "Paper in My Shoe." Ballou had never heard of zydeco before he arrived at the studio. But he nailed it and then went on to anchor bands for legends like Big Joe Turner and others. The Classie Ballou family band is a radically unique set-up of three generations, who now build on Ballou's vintage blues and R&B, play zydeco of their own making and have been known to do inspired covers of "Jambalaya," "Honky Tonk," songs by Tracy Chapman and Lynard Skynard's "Sweet Home Alabama." Ballou's grandson Cedryl started the Zydeco Trendsetters, which is really the same as the family band with some switched instrument assignments. It's been easy for Cedryl to leave the drums because Ballou's daughter CeChuan can jump on the kit, or let 6-year-old Cam'Ron handle it. CeChaun also doubles on guitar and sax as the arrangements change. Ballou on guitar and his son Cedric on bass are two of the only sure things. Tickets $5. — Will Coviello

MUSIC

Stanley Clarke/George Duke Project
8 p.m. Sun., Aug. 20
House of Blues, 225 Decatur St., 310-4999; www.hob.com

Fusion jazz used to have its own East Coast-West Coast rivalry, but after working with just about everybody in between, George Duke (pictured) and Stanley Clarke developed an ongoing creative partnership that's one of the more stellar projects with roots in fusion jazz. Duke grew up in the Bay Area, got hooked on music when his mother took him to hear Duke Ellington, and immediately got into playing funk vibes on the piano. He soon found himself playing with a young Al Jarreau and then with Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention and then he joined Cannonball Adderly's band. Clarke grew up on the East Coast, hit the New York scene and rewrote the way the bass is played. He had special new bass guitars crafted for him, and he excelled as a soloist in his own band and compositions. He was invited to play in the bands of Art Blakey, Pharaoh Saunders, Dexter Gordon, Stan Getz and Chick Corea. Later he recorded with jazz and pop musicians and even toured with Jeff Beck and Keith Richards. Since they started the Project in 1981, Duke and Clarke have hit the pop charts with "Sweet Baby" and released three albums. Tickets $30. — Coviello

STAGE

New Plays Festival Photo by Su Gonczy
8 p.m. Thu.-Sat., Aug. 17-19; through Aug. 27
Le Chat Noir, 715 St. Charles Ave., 581-5812; www.cabaretlechatnoir.com

The new drama Thick as Thieves will kick off the first week of Le Chat Noir's annual New Plays Festival. Written by local writer, actor and producer Michael Aaron Santos, the play gets inside the minds of career criminals who just want to cut their losses when a heist goes wrong. It's all mind games and strange revelations as police interrogate and try to turn one against the other. Thieves runs throughout the festival, which will also include a dramatizion of Mike Molina's new book The Second Line and new one-act plays. The Second Line adaptation stars Molina and his brother, local actor Tony Molina. It blends spoken word poetry, blues music, dance and storytelling in an evocation of a jazz funeral march. The four one-act plays were selected by jury and include Blank Spaces by Laura Watson, Casting Stones by David Hoover, Misguided by Christian Bordelon and The Polar Bear Exhibit by Gabrielle Reisman. Other events include discussion sessions with the authors. The one acts follow Thieves during the second week of the run and the The Second Line is set for Aug. 31. Tickets $20 Thick as Thieves , The Second Line , $16 all one acts (prices include $5 bar credit), $60 festival pass. — Coviello

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  • Su Gonczy
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