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What to Know Before You Go

Rotary Downs, Gov't Majik and Clint Maedgen
10 p.m. Thu., Jan. 10
Tipitina's, 501 Napoleon Ave., 895-TIPS;

This triple threat of local talent appears on Thursday — traditionally "Homegrown Night" at Tip's — as part of a celebratory month of shows marking the club's 30th anniversary. It's a fine hat trick in terms of local bands that represent the originality and quirkiness of local sounds that put the venerable bar on the map three decades ago. The ever-inventive rock outfit Rotary Downs, together for nearly a decade, is enjoying its tightest incarnation yet, with a brand-new drummer and bassist anchoring frontman James Marler's fuzzy, spacey synth-pop. Gov't Majik — the "Dirty South Afro-Beat Arkestra" — combines swampy funk with cosmic jazz and thunderous West African percussive references for a politically tinged, hybrid monster of layered sound. In his solo effort, Clint Maedgen — Bingo! and Liquidrone's angelic-voiced ringmaster — pulls together a veritable orgy of strings, including the mesmerizing experimental cellist Helen Gillet, for transcendent arrangements of his heartbreaking ballads about New Orleans life. Tickets $10. — Alison Fensterstock


Moscow Nights
7 p.m.-10 p.m. Sat., Jan 12; 1 p.m.-6 p.m. Sun., Jan. 13
St. Martin's Episcopal School, Solomon Theatre, 5309 Airline Drive, Metairie, 208-9905;

New Orleans may seem like a Siberian outpost of Russian culture, but it's not. From piano composer and Tulane music professor Faina Lushtak to Komenka Ethnic Dance, New Orleans has a warm and rich niche for Russian artists, music and dance. The formerly annual Russian Winter Festival returns (from a Katrina-imposed hiatus), highlighted by the variety show "Adventures Around Moscow," directed by Natasha O. Ramer. Performers include the ensemble Zingaresca (violinist Arkadiy Gips pictured), the instrumental duo Russian Romance, Komenka Ethnic Dance, dancer Sarah Grundmeyer Abrusley, and the Russian vocal ensemble of Natasha Kramareva, Natalya Flint, Olga Vaz, Natasha Karbysheva, Nellie Joseph and Natasha Munger. Some other performers familiar to local audiences include Harry Mayronne Jr. and Chris Wecklein. The show is at 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. The rest of the festival includes art displays, children's activities and a bazaar. There's even Russian food, including Russian tea (made with jam), pierogis and Russian pastries. Tickets $15 general admission, $10 seniors, $5 children. — Will Coviello


Chris Brown and Bow Wow
7:30 p.m. Sun., Jan. 13
New Orleans Arena, 1501 Girod St., 587-3663

The smooth R&B singer Chris Brown hit hard and hot with his 2005 debut single "Run It" shooting straight to No. 1 on the Billboard charts. Brown is sharing top billing on this tour with former rap child-star Bow Wow (pictured), who shed the "Lil" in 2003 — though the diminutive works just fine for Lil' Wayne, who is five years Bow Wow's senior. The tour, a smorgasbord of hip-hop and R&B sounds, promotes both Bow Wow's Faceoff and Brown's Exclusive . The slick and romantic Exclusive is a well-crafted urban pop album. Recorded as a collaboration with former boy-band singer Omarion, Faceoff has a rougher edge, even with O's satiny crooning. It's been compared to Jay-Z and R. Kelly's ill-fated 2002 project Best of Both Worlds . (In other words, Faceoff is for rep-making, and Exclusive is for baby-making.) Also on the bill are the hit-making teenage rappers Soulja Boy and Lil Mama, plus the seemingly incongruous Shop Boyz — an Atlanta hip-hop outfit known for crossover references to goth and emo culture, plus wry lyrical criticism of the music industry. Tickets $37.75. — Fensterstock


Twelfth Night Party with the Wild Magnolias, Al "Carnival Time" Johnson, Egg Yolk Jubilee and others
9 p.m. Fri., Jan. 11
House of Blues, 225 Decatur St., 310-4999;

The House of Blues rings in the start of Carnival season a little on the late side this year but with a lineup that looks handpicked to make revelers overlook the tardiness. On top of the bill is The Wild Magnolias — the chanting, stomping, jangling and oh-so-pretty lineup of Mardi Gras Indians who revealed their street tradition to the world in the early '70s with a pair of records masterfully produced by funk master Willie Tee. The raucous horn-driven rock outfit Egg Yolk Jubilee counts multiple alumni of New Orleans high school marching bands among its ranks. And who better to signal the start of the parade and ball season than Al "Carnival Time" Johnson, whose immortal R&B track has been heralding Mardi Gras for nearly half a century? The bill also includes harmonica wizard Bruce "Sunpie" Barnes and the funky zydeco of his Louisiana Sunspots, plus saucy striptease from the ladies of Bustout Burlesque and an appearance from Empress of the Universe Antoinette K-Doe and her Mardi Gras Baby Dolls. It may be five days late, but with a lineup like this and liquor for sale, who cares? Tickets $20. — Fensterstock

click to enlarge JACOB BLICKENSTAFF
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    • Fri., March 23 and Sat., March 24
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    • Sun., March 18, 3 p.m., Mon., March 19, 7:30 p.m., Thu., March 22, 7:30 p.m., Fri., March 23, 7:30 p.m., Sat., March 24, 7:30 p.m. and Sun., March 25, 3 p.m.
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    • First Saturday of every month

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