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What to Know Before You Go


Terrance Simien
5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wed., May 23
Wednesdays At The Square, Lafayette Square, 600 St. Charles Ave., 585-1500

The weekly springtime parties for the CBD after-work crowd rock and roll on Wednesday evenings in Lafayette Square, with cocktails, snacks, local crafts and, of course, music. Up this week is accordion rocker Terrance Simien and his Zydeco Experience, who have been squeezing out his eclectic blend of neo-Creole sounds, blending reggae, rock and world beats with traditional zydeco for nearly a quarter century. Simien's latest album, Across the Parish Line , was released in 2006. It features cameos from local boogie-woogie blues artist Marcia Ball, pianist Garth Hudson and bassist Rick Danko from country-rock pioneers The Band, David Hidalgo from the venerable Tex-Mex gang Los Lobos and legendary singer-songwriter Paul Simon, with whom Simien appeared on the landmark Graceland album. The record blends traditional with contemporary in Simien's trademark style, from world beats and studio-born DJ tricks to a soulful cover of Randy Newman's "Louisiana 1927" that showcases Simien's silky-smooth vocals. Fiddle-prodigy and teen-rocker Amanda Shaw opens. Free admission. — Alison Fensterstock


Rowdy Frynds Tour
7 p.m. Fri., May 25
New Orleans Arena, 1501 Girod St., 587-3663

Who wants a double helping of Dixie-fried arena rock? Obviously, America does, because all reports say tickets to this double bill of vintage down-home beer-drinking, s**t-kicking goodness are selling like funnel cakes at Gretna Fest. The still-rowdy remnants of Southern rock godfathers Lynyrd Skynyrd join hard-driving country scion Hank Williams Jr. onstage for a two-headed assault of feel-good twang and mighty power chords that will surely see the trucker hats, baseball tees, aviator shades and mullet hairdos coming out by the Camaro-load. The eight-piece Skynyrd, which was inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame last year, is currently working with just two original members, guitarist Gary Rossington and keyboardist Billy Powell, with original singer Ronnie van Zant's brother Johnny on vocals. (Fortunately, it's Rossington's original fingers that will be there to replicate one of the most well-known opening guitar licks in classic rock history, on "Sweet Home Alabama.") And as a side note, superfans may want to visit Bocephus' Web site ( for a chance to enter the Rowdiest Frynd Contest, a competition designed to reward skill in "singing, dancing, partying or pre-show tailgating." Tickets $33-$73. — Fensterstock


Musicians Bringing Home Musicians II
9 p.m. Sun., May 27
Tipitina's, 501 Napoleon Ave., 895-TIPS;

The nonprofit Future of Music Coalition Ñ a research and advocacy organization working with musicians across the country Ñ hosted its first benefit concert this past November. The event brought a group of artists, including Steve Earle and R.E.M.'s Mike Mills, to town on a sort of activist field trip, wherein they toured flood-damaged areas and then performed at Tip's to raise cash for a group of local charities serving musicians, including the Arabi Wrecking Krewe and the Tipitina's Foundation. This round boasts an equally eclectic bill, with folk-rockers the Indigo Girls and Matt Nathanson, Damien Kulash (pictured) of the power-pop geek-rock outfit OK Go, and Jim James of experimental Americana fuzz-rockers My Morning Jacket alongside Al "Carnival Time" Johnson and Bonerama. Profits from this gig go to Sweet Home New Orleans, an outgrowth charity of the New Orleans Musicians' Hurricane Relief Fund, whose efforts focus specifically on housing aid for local artists. Tickets $20 in advance, $25 at the door. — Fensterstock


Greek Festival
Fri.-Sun., May 25-27
Hellenic Cultural Center, 1200 Robert E. Lee Blvd., 282-0259;

It may not be the stuff of Greek myth, but the Greek Festival offers a minor Odyssey of canoeing down Bayou St. John and a climbing wall that reaches just shy of the heights of Mt. Olympus. The annual weekendlong festival invites would-be heroes to do as the Greeks do, learn to dance the Zorba or simply enjoy a baklava sundae. Live Greek music, cultural displays and scenic Bayou St. John provide the backdrop at the Hellenic Cultural Center. To honor both Greek and local cuisine, this year's festival features some Greek-Cajun fusion dishes meant to please those hailing from both the Mississippi and the Mediterranean. They include Greek sausage on a stick with orange zest, a feta cheese and crawfish appetizer with Louisiana vegetables and a Greek version of redfish couvillion. As always, an array of Greek imports Ñ including clothing, wine and jewelry Ñ are for sale in the Greek Marketplace. And in the competitive spirit of the Greeks, the festival offers games for children and the annual Olympic Run/Walk on Friday night. Those intrigued by this taste of Greek culture can even enter to win a round-trip ticket to Greece and experience Hellenic life first hand. Tickets $5 adults, children 12-under free. Ñ Lauren LaBorde

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