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What to Know Before You Go


The Iguanas
10 p.m. Sat., Dec. 16
Howlin' Wolf, 907 S. Peters, 522-WOLF (9653)

New Orleans' Iguanas have an enviable staying power — at the age of sweet sixteen, plus one band-scattering hurricane, they're still rocking. Their cheery, horn-heavy, Chicano-style rock — mixed with New Orleans R&B, Latin jazz sounds, and multilingual lyrics — has endured through six albums and frequent touring over the past decade and a half, and this is a now-relatively-rare in-town gig. Their last album, 2003's Plastic Silver 9 Volt Heart (Yep Roc) featured some collaboration from band pal Dave Alvin, who mixed rockabilly with mariachi sounds in his old band, the Blasters. The combination of California desert and Louisiana bayou was spot-on. Alvin recorded and released his own version of the title track, a nostalgic paean to the romance of late-night radio, on his own 2004 release Ash Grove . Opening up is the Washboard Chaz Blues Trio, whose 2006 self-released album Hard Year Blues is a stellar collection of vintage blues songs and standards reimagined in their rollicking washboard shuffle style. Tickets $12. — Alison Fensterstock


Cajun and Zydeco Dance Fest Photo by
Noon to 11 p.m. Sun., Dec. 17
Tipitina's, 501 Napoleon Ave., 895-8477;

Tipitina's typically hosts a weekly fais do do on Sunday afternoons. But this Sunday features a super-sized Cajun and zydeco dance festival and contest with some of the biggest names in each genre (organized by ABBA Productions). The slate of bands includes the Pine Leaf Boys, Thomas Fields, Geno Delafose, Bruce Daigrepont, Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas, Chris Ardoin and Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys (pictured). Doors open at noon and the dancing goes all day long. There are separate prizes for Cajun and zydeco dancing. First place in each earns the winning couple a seven-day Carnival cruise. Second place in each category is a seven-day trip for two to Gatlinburg, Tenn. There are also cash prizes for the best dressed couple and the winners of the "Potato Dance." Proceeds from the event will benefit Bridge House, the local nonprofit that provides assistance and counseling to people fighting substance abuse. Tickets $10, dance contest entry fee $5 per couple. — Will Coviello


Zappa Plays Zappa: Accept No Substitutes
8 p.m. Mon., Dec. 18
House of Blues, 225 Decatur St., 310-4999;

Given these days of W., Iraq, Mark Foley, Paris Hilton and American Idol, it's a shame we don't have new musical commentary from Frank Zappa (pictured) to give us some much needed perspective. Zappa, who passed away in 1993, was one of the great social satirists in American history as well as a brilliant musician. From songs like "Jesus Thinks You're a Jerk" to "Porn Wars" to "Valley Girl," Zappa saw right through the baloney sausage that so many people try to foist upon an unsuspecting citizen. His mantle has fallen to his son Dweezil, who is giving fans as well as neophytes another chance to hear complex compositions such as "The Black Page" as well as more popular themes such as "I Am The Slime." Dweezil has enlisted some of his dad's former bandmates to help out, including drummer Terry Bozzio, vocalist and saxophonist Napoleon Murphy Brock, and the amazing stunt guitarist Steve Vai. With a band like that, there will be no jiving with the Cosmic Debris at this show. Tickets $45. — David Kunian


The Black Keys
9 p.m. Tue., Dec. 12
House of Blues, 225 Decatur St., 310-4999;

Since their last, pre-Katrina visit to New Orleans, the Akron, Ohio-based garage-blues duo the Black Keys has been pretty busy. The two released the full-length Junior Kimbrough tribute album Chulahoma on Fat Possum Records, their original label (and the label that brought the late Kimbrough's brand of stripped-down Mississippi blues to the world). They also left the indie haven of Fat Possum — long a gold mine of both undiscovered regional blues artists like T-Model Ford and R.L. Burnside as well young Turks like the Black Keys, who ran their raw, indigenous sound through the lens of punk and garage rock — for the venerable major label Nonesuch. Their first release for the big dogs, this year's Magic Potion , follows the same recipe as their indie releases: rough, hard blues-rock that makes the sum of diminutive Dan Auerbach's huge voice and guitar and Patrick Carney's drumming more than the sum of its parts. Their deadpan take on slow Southern rock and reverb-drenched, electrified blues is raw, wrenching and as heavy as a freight train. The new record breaks little new ground, with a little contemplative, late-Beatles-era psychedelia thrown in on tracks like the mellow "You're The One." If anything, the disc is quieter and more restrained than their previous rave-ups. Opening is Dr. Dog, a Philadelphia-based quintet whose lo-fi, rough-edged indie-pop has earned them buzz-band stature. Tickets $17.50. — Fensterstock

click to enlarge 2003 TABITHA HAGGERTY
  • 2003 Tabitha Haggerty
click to enlarge PHILIP GOULD
click to enlarge ae_feat-14614.jpeg
click to enlarge VINCENT ABBEY


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