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A&E Feature

What to Know Before You Go


Charalambides, Alasdair Roberts and the Frank Gratkowski Trio
10 p.m. Wed., Nov. 28
Hi-Ho Lounge, 2239 St. Claude Ave., 945-4446

Fans of the avant-garde may have noticed that New Orleans' experimental music promoters have stepped up their bookings in November and December. Scheduling conflicts are the happy mistake behind this triple bill from difficult-listening purveyors Anxious Sound, who piled up this triad of psych/folk freakout and Euro-damaged improvisational jazz. The Texas duo Charalambides combine found sounds, various effects pedals and whisper-to-scream vocals for an effect somewhere between hypnotic and disturbing. Scottish folkie Alasdair Roberts, who recently supported harpist Joanna Newsom on tour, is countrified and mellow. Topping off the bill is a trio of European improv-jazz heavy hitters, including Dutch contrabassist (the contrabass is a rarely used bass pitched lower than the standard) Wilbert de Joode, saxophone wizard Frank Gratakowski (pictured) and German pianist Achim Kaufmann. Tickets $5. — Alison Fensterstock




R. Kelly's Double Up Tour
7:30 p.m. Fri., Nov. 30
New Orleans Arena, 1501 Girod St., 587-3663

R. Kelly is out of the closet. (Seriously, did he not expect cheap jokes with a title like that?) His epic hip-hopera "Trapped In The Closet" (or the latest installment, episodes 13-22) hit the streets in August, and while fans mull over the complex recent developments in the series, the smooth-voiced loverman is back on the road with a posse of up-and-coming contemporary R&B crooners who have some serious star quality of their own. Sharing the bill on his Double Up tour are the platinum-selling (and now platinum-haired) Keyshia Cole, whose vocal acrobatics manage to be both sparkly and soulful, the soul-pop singer Ne-Yo and J. Holiday, whose recent mix-tape Chocolate City should resonate with locals. It's serious baby-making music to snuggle up with for the cold weather. Tickets $39. — Fensterstock




Complexions Contemporary Ballet
8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Nov. 30-Dec. 1
Tulane University, Dixon Hall, 522-0996;

Complexions features the cutting-edge dance of choreographer Dwight Rhoden and principal dancer Desmond Richardson, both alums of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Together the two have spearheaded a body of work that's as eclectic as the troupe is electrifying in its speed and physicality. Pieces have been set to everything from the music of Bach to Marvin Gaye. This program features choreography by Rhoden, Abdur-Rahim Jackson, Nicolo Fonte and William Forsythe set to everything from Chopin to Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone and the White Stripes. The company is acclaimed for its ability to combine multi-culturalism, classical and modern dance and art and artists from other disciplines. Prior to both performances, Rehearsal Director Jae Joo will host talks about the troupe's work. Tickets $30-$80. — Will Coviello




Charles Walker and the Dynamites
10 p.m. Fri., Nov. 30
Tipitina's, 501 Napoleon Ave., 895-TIPS;

Soul survivor Charles "Wigg" Walker (who allegedly picked up the nickname because he was born with a full head of hair, not because his conk was store-bought) traveled a long and winding road to get back to his native Nashville. Walker spent the early '60s in New York City fronting the J.C. Davis Band, alums of the Apollo Theater's sweaty, electric soul revues who toured extensively in support of R&B stars like Etta James, Jackie Wilson and Wilson Pickett (whose gritty vocal style Walker's resembles greatly) before forming Little Charles and the Sidewinders. He spent most of the '60s and '70s with that act, playing uptown-style soul at Big Apple joints like the famous Small's Paradise nightclub in Harlem. With the Sidewinders, Walker cut multiple records for classic blues and soul labels like Chess, Decca and Champion. The group never charted but it enjoyed a cult following in England's Northern Soul scene in the late '60s. After spending a good chunk of the '80s in England and Spain — notably recording a still-unreleased LP with Lloyd Price of "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" fame, Walker finally returned to his native Music City, where yet another chapter of his career has just kicked off. After his inclusion on the second volume of the Country Music Hall of Fame's excellent Night Train to Nashville R&B compilation, Walker was asked to join up with a newly forming funk and soul act — and in the manner of re-emerging stars like Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Andre Williams and Nathaniel Mayer, Walker's back on the scene. This is his second gig in New Orleans this year. His band opens for the laid-back grooves of funk/jam outfit Papa Grows Funk. Tickets $12. — Fensterstock


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