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A&E Feature 

What to Know Before You Go


Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars
1 a.m. Sun., April 29
Howlin' Wolf, 907 S. Peters St., 522-WOLF

Lafayette blues guitarist Tab Benoit created the Voice of the Wetlands organization to raise awareness about the exponentially increasing threat to the Gulf Coast's flora, fauna and indigenous culture from coastal erosion well before Katrina. Instead of enjoying a well-deserved "I told you so," Benoit continues his activism and advocacy on behalf of the even-more-quickly disappearing wetlands with projects like the Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars. In 2004, Benoit assembled a gang of well-known Louisiana artists in Houma to record the S.O.S. (Save Our Swamps) CD. In September 2005, still shaken by the storm, they did it again, recording original Cajun, blues and funk tracks dealing with the aftermath of the storm and the damaged coastline, and touring as the VOW All-Stars to spread the message. For this late-night gig, Benoit is reassembling his group of ecologically aware musicians, including Cyril Neville, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Anders Osborne, Waylon Thibodeaux, Kirk Joseph, Jumpin' Johnny Sansone, Johnny Vidacovich and other surprise guests to rock for the swamp. Note that the gig starts immediately following Allen Toussaint and Marcia Ball's show (10 p.m. Sat., April 28). Tickets $20. — Alison Fensterstock


Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk
10 p.m. Fri., April 27
Howlin' Wolf, 907 S. Peters St., 522-WOLF

Ivan Neville's brand of funk is strictly Uptown, and we're not talking the Maple Leaf. The brass-influenced New Orleans funk sound can revel in being low-down and lazy. Dumpstaphunk, though the name implies otherwise, is pressed, polished and ready to swagger like a sharp suit. Listen Hear , his latest album, came out last week. It's a bouquet of on-point horns, whiplash guitar and Rick James beats. Amid the tightened-up sound, however, is an "it's-all-good" New Orleans-style attitude on tracks like "Meanwhile," which reasons "I still haven't got my FEMA check / and I can't seem to find my keys / might as well have a good time," or on the closer, "Shake It Off," which advises, "You just got to shake it off / don't let them haters piss you off." Words to live by for festival season. This show is actually a blowout three-headliner night — all for one ticket price. Dumpstaphunk plays between the Rebirth Brass Band's 10 p.m.-midnight set and Fishbone's 3 a.m. performance for the truly hardcore. Tickets $20. — Fensterstock


JJ Grey and MOFRO
10 p.m. Thu., April 26
Tiptina's, 501 Napoleon Ave., 895-TIPS;

Alligator Records recording artists JJ Grey and MOFRO lay down aggressive, funk-tinged electric Southern blues-rock that's all business. Their latest album, Country Ghetto , combines a pastiche of soulful American sounds into one diesel-powered, full-speed-ahead blend of gospel, country, blues, soul and funk that mixes almost seamlessly, with a Motown horn part here and pure church harmonies there. It's a juke-joint record for the next generation, in much the same vein as bands like the North Mississippi Allstars, which processes down-home sounds through fresh eyes. Rural music is in Grey's blue-collar blood (and his raw, sandpapery voice, which can slip between soul pleas and funk preaching) but he's not just aping an already-packaged sound. The tracks on Country Ghetto stay true to the essence of Howlin' Wolf's gritty blues, Tony Joe White's dark, ominous swamp-rock and even Percy Sledge's Memphis love ballads, with a singularly personal stamp. Anders Osborne and Eric Lindell open. Tickets $20. — Fensterstock


Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
9 p.m. Tue., April 24
Republic, 828 S. Peters St., 528-8282;

Sympathy for the record industry? You'll excuse Alec Ounsworth if he has none. The frontman for Brooklyn rockers Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Ounsworth eschewed corporate backing for the group's eponymous 2005 debut, instead handling all matters of production and promotion in house. When whole hives of buzzing tastemakers — and eye-popping sales for a nonlabel release — posited CYHSY as the poster band for a new era of DIY recording, Ounsworth watched as the inevitable wave of backlash rendered January's follow-up Some Loud Thunder a near nonevent. Settling somewhere between sophomoric and folkloric, Thunder is a fair return on fans' sizable investment in the band's first album, albeit absent the same feelings of shock and awe (the former at Ounsworth's blackboard-scratching vocals, the latter at his way with indelible art-rock melodies and spirit-lifting crescendos). Even so, infectious single "Emily Jean Stock," infatuated love song "Underwater (You And Me)" and the intentionally damaged title track show that these Hands still have a few tricks left up their sleeves. Elvis Perkins opens. Tickets $15, $18 door. — Noah Bonaparte Pais

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