Welcome the immediate future of New Orleans, where the three-minute pop song is as rare as a garbage pickup. Since few bands are back in town with their full lineups intact, clubs are booking mix-and-match combos to jam. In this case, the show should be coherent since drummer-about-town Kevin O'Day has already played at least one post-Katrina date with the Radiators' bassist Reggie Scanlan and saxophonist Eric Traub. Percussionist and O'Day's bandmate in Elastic Karma Kings Andy Ambrose completes the core lineup, with guests sitting in each week. Fortunately, all of the principals have solid funk and jam chops, and can drift in jazzy directions when the situation calls for it. "Reggie gives you that raw vibe you need, and Eric can take you off on those jazz flights," says O'Day (pictured) before finishing packing up and leaving Lafayette, where he's been staying. "When you put that combination together, it's great for me because I can just lay right in the pocket." Katrina has not only brought about this addition to the Maple Leaf lineup, but it has brought about a rather momentous change. Shows now start at 9 p.m., and owner Hank Staples swears he's going to try to get the talent to adhere to it. With relief workers and construction workers in town, he hopes to make it possible for people to catch at least one set before they head for bed. Dreamer that he is, he even hopes to get bands to start around 10 p.m. when things get closer to normal. For Kevin O'Day, anything familiar is a good thing, early or late: "It's incredible to be living back home and among friends, and playing in the clubs I love."
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