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What to Know Before You Go



Circle Bar post-Jazz Fest Crawfish Boil 7 p.m. Fri., April 28

Circle Bar, 1032 Lee Circle, 588-2616 After the you-know-what last August, ÒtraditionalÓ New Orleans music got a big boost nationwide as the country rallied to show its support for Gulf Coast red-beans-and-rice cultcha. Slightly more under the radar, as always, was the cityÕs understated yet thriving independent music scene. As a coda to the first day of the Fest, the Circle Bar offers a showcase of local indie bands proving theyÕre still standing and still local Ð along with a free crawfish deliciously murdered by Ninth Ward noisemaker MC Trachiotomy. Starting at sundown, suck the heads to the shimmering string-and-synthesizer heavy indie-pop of Rotary Downs, Big Blue Marble and AustinÕs AM Syndicate, who feature at least six members at any given time pulling intriguing dreamy, psychedelic sounds out of cello, violin and pedal steel. Also on the bill is the slightly violent folk-punk of the Happy Talk Band, whose track ÒAsh WednesdayÓ remains one of the best songs ever written with New Orleans as its disturbing muse Ð ÒGod protects his fools who build their homes below the sea,Ó indeed. Tickets $5. Ñ Alison Fensterstock MUSIC

North Mississippi Allstars 2 a.m. Fri., April 28

TipitinaÕs, 501 Napoleon Ave., 895-TIPS

1:30 a.m. Sun., April 30

House of Blues, 225 Decatur St., 529-BLUE Two-thirds Southern music royalty already, (drummer Cody and guitarist Luther are the sons of legendary Memphis figure Jim Dickinson) the North Mississippi Allstars have spent their decade together surehandedly throwing down jam-band and psychedelic sounds with their core always solidly rooted in regional Delta sonic tradition. Last yearÕs Electric Blue Watermelon (Ato Records 2005) was their most fully realized exploration yet Ð a collage in which traditional Delta and hill country blues, brass and fife and drum effortlessly abutted hard-driving Southern rock and Memphis hip-hop. Takes on the Charley Patton antique ÒMississippi Boll WeevilÓ and the traditional folk tune ÒDeep Blue SeaÓ stood up next to Memphis rapper Al Kapone giving shout-outs to bluesman Junior KimbroughÕs defunct Mississippi jukejoint. The roll call of guest artists included luminaries like Fat Possum RecordsÕ dependable sideman Kenny Brown on guitar, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and sunshiny, marble-mouthed vocals from Lucinda Williams. These two late-night Jazz Fest shows are likely to be grade-A rave-ups thatÕll please both twirling hippies and roots music traditionalists. $25 at TipitinaÕs, $27.50 at House of Blues. Ñ Fensterstock Olu Dara, with Alex McMurray 9 p.m. Sat., April 29

One Eyed Jacks, 615 Toulouse St., 569-8361; or Seven years ago, Olu DaraÕs In the World: From Natchez to New York (Atlantic) wasnÕt just an Afro-Caribbean revelation for non-jazz insiders who didnÕt know his decades of service as one of the most in-demand session men in the world (either as trumpeter or guitarist). It served as a springboard for DaraÕs triumphant Jazz Fest performance the following spring in 1999, in which his food-themed album blew through the air from the Congo Square Stage. (ÒYour lips, your lips, your lips, your lips É are juicy ÉÓ) Two years later came the self-evidently themed Neighborhoods (Atlantic), which, among other things, paid tribute to his son, the rapper Nas and the New York projects. (The album also features Dr. John guesting on three tracks.) ItÕs easy to get lost in the shuffle that is Jazz Fest nightly shows, but please mark this down: Olu Dara is a canÕt-miss proposition, an uncanny blend of unselfconsciousness and structure in both his playing and his vocals. Tickets $20. Ñ Simmons MUSIC

Jamakazi 9 p.m. Sunday, April 30

HowlinÕ Wolf, 907 S. Peters St., 529-5844; Jamakazi returns for its third year to deliver night Festers another improv-heavy throwdown featuring nationally known artists teamed up with a roster of local favorites. This year, however, the annual event takes on an added dimension as a benefit to assist MusiCares and Music Rising, two charitable organizations that have been working to provide relief directly to New Orleans musicians affected by Katrina. The evening has the feel of a family affair. The first set features Leo Nocentelli of the Meters teaming up with a trio of guys from Galactic (pictured): bassist Rob Mercurio, keyboardist Rich Vogel and drummer Stanton Moore. More musical madness follows in the second act, as hometown heroes George Porter Jr., Ivan Neville, Ian Neville and Russell Batiste cook up some NOLA heat, with New Orleanian-at-heart and sax-freaker Skerik, Eric Krasno of Soulive and Jon Scofield and Fugees alumni Adam Deitch adding their own flavors. Expect a rotating cast of special guests. Tickets are $25. Ñ Etheridge

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