House of Shock vs. House of Blues? No Contest

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Skip All Saints and to hell with Halloween: The scariest thing about the last week of October in New Orleans is the amount of essential live music being scheduled.

It's a bit daunting, really. Voodoo Fest kicks things off Friday-Sunday, Oct. 26-28, and includes not only whole days spent cooking in the midday City Park sun to catch wildly divergent acts such as M.I.A., Spoon and Common (or, if you prefer, decade-wandering ones like

Rage Against the Machine, Smashing Pumpkins and the Black Crowes), but a sideshow of sweaty night shows at One Eyed Jacks (puppet punk with Quintron and Yip Yip on Friday, the newly single Dax Riggs on Saturday and salacious soulman Andre Williams on Sunday). Somewhere in there, you must also find time for a Saturday hip-hop showcase: Portland gutterflies Lifesavas with local flyboys Galactic at Tipitina's.

We're not done. Monday's TV matchup of K-Ville and Monday Night Football offers a brief, brainless respite, but it's back to business Tuesday with a choice of Japanimated noise trio Peelander-Z at One Eyed Jacks or New York City indie rockers Robbers on High Street at the Parish. A push for the latter: Unless your surname is Hackford, it's hard to justify spending four out of five evenings on the same stool at OEJ, no matter how much they charge for a Redbreast on the rocks. (Only $6! On the other hand, the bartenders are sure to know you by this point, so there's that.)

All of which leads up to Wednesday and Thursday, and a twin bill at the House of Blues in what might be the two best shows of 2007. No hyperbole: Both the New Pornographers and Of Montreal are on the short list of the top live bands on the planet, and they happen to be playing back-to-back nights at the same club to close out NOLA's busiest concert week in recent memory. Forget costumes — any room in all those Ticketmaster "service" charges for a cot, HOB?

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