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A&E Feature

What to Know Before You Go

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MUSIC

The Bellrays
8 p.m. Tue., Sept. 26
House of Blues, 225 Decatur St., 310-4999; www.hob.com

If Nina Simone and Iggy Pop combined into one to-the-limit supercharged force of Motor City rock and soul power, that would be Bellrays vocalist Lisa Kekaula. Recalling a time when urban rhythm and blues was actually sort of threatening, they wield the tools of soul with the energy of punk and an intensity in Kekaula's voice that's on the level of an attack. Their neighbors, the Detroit Cobras, inhabit old soul tunes with a desperate ferocity that makes you fear for the band's stability; the Bellrays make you fear for your own. Their latest release, Have A Little Faith (Cheap Lullaby, 2006) eases you in with high-voltage tracks that could be straight out of '70s soul radio, with Etta James-style belting and cheery Stax horns; then they bring in the touches of punk and metal to rough you up. The tracks "Lost Disciples" and "Time Is Gone" wander almost into space-jazz mode, with soaring, Santana-like guitars and thumping Afro-Cuban percussion. Equal parts Motown and the MC5, Have A Little Faith is hot enough to melt Detroit steel. Bellrays and Year Long Disaster open for Clutch. Tickets $16. — Alison Fensterstock

EVENT

Oktoberfest
5 p.m.-until, Fri.-Sat., Sept 28-29; through Oct. 29
Deutsches Haus, 200 S. Galvez St., 522-8014: www.thedeutscheshaus.org


Germans call it GemŸtlichkeit — a sense of brotherhood and social warmth in a relaxing atmosphere — and it is sure to be in abundant display as the nonprofit Deutsches Haus celebrates the return of its monthlong Oktoberfest, beginning Friday evening. The members of Deutsches Haus have been hard at work rebuilding the flooded Mid-City headquarters of their 78-year-old German cultural club. In the process, they upgraded the club's bars and tap systems so that this year they will serve 40 different imported draft beers, almost triple the selection previously available. There is also a dedicated schnapps shot bar this year and German wine also will be served. As in years past, the family-friendly event will feature steaming mounds of sauerkraut, plump sausage links and other traditional German food cooked by club members. The beer garden will ring with the sounds of oompah bands performing such crowd pleasers as the "Chicken Dance Song," and there will be plenty of Bavarian folk costumes, dancing, singing and toasting. Tickets $5 adults, free for children 12-under. — Ian McNulty

STAGE

Flanagan's Wake
7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Sept. 29-30; 2 p.m. Sun., Oct. 1; through Oct. 8
Teatro Wego! Dinner Theatre, 177 Sala Ave., Westwego, 885-2000; wwwjpas.org

There's nothing quite like a good wake; especially one that has been running for 13 years from city to city. The story is never quite the same, however, because the Bible- and Guinness-toting priest may need a little help remembering all of the details and once the improv-format show gets going, there's no telling what will be revealed. The Jefferson Performing Arts Society stages the audience-interactive Flanagan's Wake at Teatro Wego. Theater-goers are as good as Flanagan's distant kin visiting a tiny Irish village where friends and family have gathered to remember him. That means sharing stories, songs, a few toasts and more as Father Damon Fitzgerald presides over the scene, along with Flanagan's mother and the town's mayor. Director Mark Czoske brings the show to New Orleans after runs in Chicago, Boston and Detroit. Flanagan stars Jeffery Martorell, Bob Scully, Michael P. Sullivan, Krista Schafer, Kerry Cahill, Barry Hubbard, Jerry Lee Leighton and Dane Rhodes. Tickets $26 general admission, $23 seniors, $19 students, $12 children. Buffet dinner is an additional $19 adults, $12 children. — Will Coviello

MUSIC

Tab Benoit
10 p.m. Sat., Sept. 30
Mid City Lanes Rock 'N' Bowl, 4133 S. Carrollton Ave., 482-3133; www.rockandbowl.com

Born in Baton Rouge and raised in Houma, where he still lives, guitarist Tab Benoit is a fully credentialed son of South Louisiana Ð and even if his bio doesn't attest to that, his sound does. His Cajun-inflected rock and blues sound was honed at Tabby Thomas' legendary Blues Box in Baton Rouge. His 2005 release, Fever For The Bayou (with Cyril Neville and Big Chief Monk Boudreaux), debuted in the top ten on the Billboard blues chart and won the coveted W.C. Handy award for best contemporary blues album. Brother To The Blues, his twelfth record, came out this past spring. It's a throwback to those early country blues roots, with guest spots from Nashville songwriting legend Billy Joe Shaver and Cajun fiddle wizard Waylon Thibodeaux. The title track uses Benoit's deep, rich voice to such genuine country effect that it could be a long-lost George Jones record. The rest of the thirteen tracks range from heart-tugging twang to countrified soul, with a cover of Sam Cooke's "Bring It On Home," to roadhouse-rocking barroom blues. Benoit's swampy sound can also be heard in the IMAX nature film Hurricane On The Bayou Ð the rocker is a longtime advocate of wetlands restoration and preservation. Tickets $10. — Fensterstock

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