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A&E Feature 

What to Know Before You Go


Jaime Laredo, Sharon Robinson and the Julliard String Quartet
8 p.m. Tue., March 27
Tulane University, Dixon Hall;

The New Orleans Friends of Music present a program of virtuoso chamber music. The Julliard String Quartet is known as the first family of quartets in chamber music circles, a reputation anchored by its four-decade tenure as the quartet in residence at the Library of Congress. The 60-year-old organization has maintained a stellar reputation, premiering many works in the United States and pursuing the most challenging and popular works by composers like Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Brahms, Bach and Beethoven. Appearing with the quartet as soloists are violinist Jaime Laredo and cellist Sharon Robinson, members of the internationally renowned Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio. Laredo serves as the music director of the Vermont Symphony. Robinson is professor of music at Indiana University. The evening's program includes pieces by Mozart, Kodaly and Brahms. The Julliard String Quartet is doing the performance as a benefit for the Friends of Music. Tickets $25. — Will Coviello


8 p.m. Thu.-Fri., March 29-30
New Orleans Arena, 1660 Girod St., 522-5555;

The arena tour was just a matter of time for Cirque du Soleil and now it's here. Delirium is part concert, part opera, part circus but all over the top in its design. After turning the circus into a sort of an art form, Cirque du Soleil has constantly sought to stretch its boundaries, like with its waterborne show O at the Bellagio in Las Vegas and also as a corporate giant with multiple touring and resident shows and plenty of merchandising. This production is a venture that not only places music and tribal drumming at its core (and of course you can buy the CD), but also has exploded its idea of a stage. The set includes two IMAX-sized projection screens, rigging for actors to fly through the air and a full array of special effects, daring feats and extravagant costumes. Within the framework of high-tech tableaux is the story of Bill, a man drawn into and rescued from the virtual world of digital life. But here, it's staged not as a lonely trail of electronic blips heading into cyberspace, but as a phantasmagoric frenzy of aerial acrobats, singing and dance. Tickets $37.50-$108. — Coviello


Dash Rip Rock
10 p.m. Fri., March 30
Mid City Lanes Rock 'n' Bowl, 4133 S. Carrollton Ave., 482-3133;

New Orleans' much-loved cowpunk trio Dash Rip Rock has been entertaining audiences with boozy antics, goofy humor and high-energy twang for the better part of a quarter century now, influencing bawdy punk-rockabilly acts like Southern Culture On The Skids and Th' Legendary Shack Shakers, and it turns out they're still going strong. Recently signed to outspoken punk oddity Jello Biafra's Alternative Tentacles label, Dash started out the relationship with what can only be called a freakin' opus; the rock opera/ concept album/radio play Hee Haw Hell , a musical and spoken word saga based loosely — maybe extremely loosely — on Dante's Inferno . Dash frontman Bill Davis narrates with the manic energy of a tent preacher, between frenetic, cleanly produced songs that feature tons of guest spots. One of the best is Mojo Nixon (at whose annual South By Southwest barbecue the band recently performed a chunk of the album) as "Beelzebubba," a character made for the full potential of his redneck rock lunacy. Supagroup also appears on the album as the "Southern Rock Demons." This gig at Rock 'n' Bowl, assuming they'll focus on Hee Haw Hell , is sure to be a big, sloppy, Southern-fried sack of awesome. Tickets $10. — Alison Fensterstock


Herringbone Orchestra
10 p.m. Sun., April 1
Circle Bar, 1032 St. Charles Ave, 588-2616

Fans of the darkly mysterious, compelling instrumental music crafted by accorgan player Courtney Lain in her long-running downtown duo Baby Rosebud have eagerly been watching the waifish songcrafter experiment with new combinations and permutations of musicians since the post-Katrina departure of her longtime musical partner, drummer Lauren Dinkler. If some of the versions of the act only lasted for a night — or even just for a practice — they were worthwhile exercises. With the six-piece Herringbone Orchestra, Lain's finally hit on a formula that takes her haunting compositions to the next level. With the Orchestra, the quirky and compelling melodies coaxed out of Lain's analog accordion-organ hybrid are supported and caressed by harp, cello, bass, clarinet and euphonium and borne up by the slinky rhythms of Mike Voelker on drums. In his Mardi Gras blog, senior New York Times music critic Jon Pareles dubbed the band "chamber rock," which fits perfectly with their vaguely Victorian aesthetic. Overall, the orchestra keeps the best qualities of the well-loved duo, filling out the sound for a sonic effect that's like trying to emerge too soon from the soupy black seas of a strange dream, only to slip back under the waves. The accordion/banjo duo Hooray For The Riffraff, featuring Why Are We Building Such A Big Ship?'s Walt McClements, opens. Tickets $5. — Fensterstock

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click to enlarge SHANNON BRINKMAN


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