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King James Version

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BJ's belongs to a family of taverns that exists only in the Marigny/Bywater: peeling walls papered with hoarded bric-a-brac and plastic trophies, barstools augmented by a single barber's chair, a performance "stage" that's really just the open floor space between two backrooms. Every Monday, the Burgundy Street stronghold gains two additional, unnecessary location stamps: steaming crocks of free red beans and rice in the corner and a freewheeling, seemingly never-ending set of classic New Orleans rock and R&B by the discombobulated bar band King James & the Special Men. James, aka singer/guitarist Jimmy Horn, leads an always crack, often cracked stable of unstable players (including a firing squad of brass and the Happy Talk Band's Casey McAllister on upright piano); between cuts, the bandleader dishes an amusingly macabre running commentary, riffing on Texas madman Johnny "Guitar" Watson ("died onstage, bad motherf—ker") and Clarence "Frogman" Henry ("a fun song about killing yourself"). "Look," he said matter-of-factly at one recent gig, "we gon' play a suicidal song, then we gon' come out and get some drinks witcha'." And with that, the Special Man let 'em have it. Free admission. — Noah Bonaparte Pais

Aug. 23

King James & the Special Men

10 p.m. Monday

BJ's Lounge, 4301 Burgundy St., 945-9256

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