Events » New Orleans Event Previews

A&E Feature

What to Know Before You Go



Antenna Inn
10 p.m. Thu., July 19
The Howlin' Wolf, 907 South Peters St., 522-9653;

As if assembled on a mythical ark, the instruments in Antenna Inn come two-by-two: two guitarists, two horns, two keyboards, even two drum kits. Furthermore, the recently reassembled New Orleans collective was spared from the great flood. Its future uncertain in 2005, the return of founding members — including brothers Ryan and Eric Rogers — to the city after Katrina sparked a resurgence for the burgeoning band, which now incorporates as many as nine players (up from five in its previous iteration). Comprised entirely of multi-instrumentalists, some of whom switch positions mid-song, the outfit made a splash in recent months opening for highly regarded rock acts like Big Blue Marble and Rotary Downs. Arithmetic time signatures and polyrhythmic percussion define the heavily orchestrated sets, which owe a debt to jazz/pop acts both traditional (The Dave Brubeck Quartet) and progressive (Steely Dan). An EP of new material is expected in the fall. Headlining the twin bill is the ReBirth Brass Band, who also know a thing or two about the median between traditional and progressive music. Tickets $10. — Noah Bonaparte Pais


Richard Cheese & Lounge Against The Machine
8 p.m. Sat., July 21
House of Blues, 225 Decatur St., 310-4999;

The genuine Las Vegas lounge singer is a dying breed, replaced in the dizzying neon corridors of Sin City by club DJs and the ubiquitous Cirque de Soleil. It's well-nigh impossible to find the velvet-throated crooner in the polyester suit schmaltzing up the standards these days. Luckily for those who enjoy that sort of thing, there's Richard Cheese. Having made a career of making gentle, winking fun of punk, alt-rock and hip-hop hits by recording shameless Velveeta versions of tracks like "Ice Ice Baby," "Holiday In Cambodia," "Baby Got Back" and "Hot For Teacher" since 2000, Cheese and his Lounge Against The Machine band have proven easily that living swell — whether the best revenge or not — can certainly make a career. A one-trick pony he is, and in a zebra-print dinner jacket yet, but it's a fine trick — and a perfect gig at which to raise that frosty, postmodern, ironically delicious martini. Tickets $18.50. — Alison Fensterstock


Gov't Majik
10 p.m. Sat., July 21
Tipitina's, 501 Napoleon Ave., 895-TIPS;

After a false start, (the band formed in the first month of 2005 and nearly fizzled soon after when members were slow in returning after Katrina) the 12-piece "Dirty South Afro-Beat Arkestra" emerged solidly more than two years after its inception with a Jazz Fest slot and a debut CD, aptly titled Reality É It Hits You . The reality of postdiluvian New Orleans may have hit them hard, but they're hitting back, and with a powerful sound. The six tracks on Reality travel the spaceways and get down in the dirt, adding extra New Orleans-style funk and soaring jazz horn experiments (many courtesy of the Magnetic Ear's Martin Krusche on baritone sax) on top of African percussion ˆ la Fela Kuti, with, they say, indigenous rhythms from different parts of the continent blended with American hip-hop and funk beats. Bandleader and bassist Bru Braser took the band's name from a lyric in a Kuti song that berated Nigerian leaders — one of the collective's aims, he says, is to get political in song, as did the founders of Afro-beat. Or, you could just dance. Percussionist Mike Dillon, who also appears as a guest on the record, opens. Tickets $8. — Fensterstock


Tales of the Cocktail
July 18-22
Hotel Monteleone, 214 Royal St. and other locations;

Only in New Orleans, where cocktail culture has reigned supreme, could there be a serious seminar called "Martini Gras," detailing the changing tastes of the drink through the decades. That's just one of dozens of booze-related events at Tales of the Cocktail, which shows there's much more to drinking than ready-made mixers and grocery-store liquors. For its fifth anniversary, the five-day festival will once again enlighten guests about classic and innovative concoctions with a series of seminars on cocktail history, spirits, mixing and tasting. Mixologists, food authors and restaurant owners from New Orleans and elsewhere will lead the workshops, including "Sake to me," offering many new uses for the Japanese rice wine and "Rum Punch," a guide to the far reaching history of rum. There also will be plenty of how-to seminars explaining everything from making cocktails with wine to hosting an at-home spirit tasting party. The festival goes beyond classroom-style seminars with a cocktail-tasting block party Saturday night and dinners at restaurants around town, where cocktails are expertly matched with chefs' culinary specialties. No mega cocktail party would be complete without some celebrity-foodie appearances. Ted Allen of Bravo's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy , Kevin Brauch of Fine Living Network's Thirsty Traveler and Dave Martin of Bravo's Top Chef will all make appearances. Tickets are available online. Prices vary with events, some are free. — Emily Hohenwarter


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