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Black Keys
9 p.m. Wed., Oct. 1
House of Blues, 225 Decatur St., 310-4999;

Photo by James Carney The Akron, Ohio, duo the Black Keys roughs up the blues with a weighty, grinding, soulful sound that seems almost too huge for its skeletal lineup. Vocalist/guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney went big and noisy on their first few albums for the Mississippi blues label Fat Possum, and they stuck with the slightly twisted, hammering blues-rock sound after moving to Nonesuch Records in 2006. Their sophomore effort for the new label, this year's Attack and Release , remains choked with primal, elemental soul, but with an experimental twist — that could be due to the addition of star producer Danger Mouse, with whom the duo was working on songs for an Ike Turner album that was aborted when the R&B star died in December 2007. The elixir of hot soul and crafty studio innovation meant for Turner comes through, foggy, raw and almost psychedelic on the new album. Opening is Jessica Lea Mayfield, a teenage bluegrass and country singer who provided guest vocals on Attack and Release . Tickets $22. — Alison Fensterstock




Gretna Heritage Festival
4 p.m.-11 p.m. Fri., Oct. 3; 2 p.m.-11 p.m. Sat., Oct. 4; 2 p.m.- 9 p.m. Sun., Oct. 5
Huey P. Long Avenue in downtown Gretna, 361-7748;

A bloodless battle of sorts between the pop/rock past and present rages at the annual Gretna Heritage Festival. Really, what's a fan of both Theresa Andersson (pictured) and Christopher Cross to do when the YouTube starlet and yacht-rock crooner oppose each other on Saturday? Who wins when Foghat, Kermit Ruffins and Allen Toussaint face off later that same evening? (The answer: no one — and everyone.) Not all of the bookings are so confrontational. On Friday, Galactic's grooves are an ideal upper to getting down that night with headliner KC and the Sunshine Band. And Sunday, indie-rockers Big Blue Marble open for funky Loyola alums Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes while Bonerama holds a meeting of the brass before Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. The obligatory missed connection: reaper-beater Blue Oyster Cult closes Saturday and honky-tonker Gal Holiday opens Sunday. If you've got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell, better pack a sleeping bag. Tickets $10 daily, $25 weekend pass. — Noah Bonaparte Pais




Congo Square Rhythms Festival
11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sat.-Sun., Oct. 4-5
Bayou St. John at Orleans Ave., 558-6100;

Photo by Cheryl Gerber. The second annual Congo Square Rhythms Festival offers a sweepingly historical perspective on indigenous New Orleans music, with a two-day roster that runs the gamut from West African drumming and dance to the hottest local bounce rappers. An all-star drum summit includes Stanton Moore, Shannon Powell, Michael Skinkus, Alfred "Uganda" Roberts and others. Kermit Ruffins (pictured), Big Sam's Funky Nation, Donald Harrison Jr. and four tribes of Mardi Gras Indians also are on the bill, as well as a sizzling lineup of rappers that includes Fifth Ward Weebie, DJ Jubilee, Partners-N-Crime and sissy bounce stars Big Freedia and Sissy Nobby. As a special interactive extra, the fest has created a YouTube contest for fans who want to film themselves dancing the "Happy Dance" — the latest single from Lafayette rapper Cupid, whose first hit, the "Cupid Shuffle," went platinum. Hot steppers can submit their videos at, and the winner will join Cupid onstage to strut his or her stuff during the rapper's set. The fest also offers a range of kid's activities, food and a crafts bazaar. Free admission. — Fensterstock




New Riders of the Purple Sage
9 p.m. Tue., Sept. 30
Blue Nile, 532 Frenchmen St., 948-2583

Photo by Lisa Law. Billed as America's premiere psychedelic cowboy band, the New Riders of the Purple Sage hail from a time and place when there was heavy competition for that sort of title. Band lore has it that frontman John Dawson met Jerry Garcia on the California coffeehouse circuit in the summer of 1969, and the two began making the rounds together, augmenting traditional blues and folk rock with the era's cosmic vibe. In the early days, many of the future Grateful Dead members put in time as New Riders, including drummer Mickey Hart and bassist Phil Lesh. (At different points, New Riders also boasted former Byrds, Lost Planet Airmen and members of Jefferson Airplane.) The band signed to Columbia Records in the early '70s, and its career continued to intersect with the Dead's, as the two groups toured together extensively and shared producers on more than one occasion. Today, Dawson has retired to Mexico but gives his blessing to the band's current incarnation, which continues to evoke the wild frontier of the '60s with two original members — guitarist David Nelson and Garcia's onetime replacement, pedal-steel player Buddy Cage. Tickets $18 in advance, $22 at the door. — Fensterstock

click to enlarge JAMES CARNEY
  • James Carney
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