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N.O.S.A. Conn. presents Youssou N'Dour
8 p.m. Thu., Nov. 15
House of Blues, 225 Decatur St., 310-4999;

Senegalese bandleader and vocalist Youssou N'Dour is possibly the best known export West Africa has to offer. In more than 30 years of recording, he's become a legend in world music circles for his joyously bubbling fusion of Wolof language mbalax, West African popular music, with First World instrumentation like electric guitar and electronic drumming. He's also collaborated with Neneh Cherry and Peter Gabriel, and was voted one of TIME magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2007. NOSA-Conn, the New Orleans-South Africa Connection (a nonprofit whose mission is to build a culture- and tourism-based connection between New Orleans and Africa) presents the performance. N'Dour appears with his band, the Super Etoile de Dakar, plus the funk of Russell Batiste and Friends. Also on the bill is Thandiswa of the popular South African dub/dancehall group Bongo Muffin. A VIP patron party begins at 6 p.m. General admission tickets $35, VIP $50. — Alison Fensterstock




8 p.m. Sat., Nov. 17
New Orleans Arena, 1501 Girod St., 587-3663

With song titles like "Stinkfist" and "Prison Sex," Lollapalooza-favorite Tool happily courted censorship throughout the '90s. Its sound was hardly as blunt as the name implies. Instead, it created vast, ambient, artistically metallic soundscapes that were at the forefront of the prog-metal genre while still being highly accessible to shopping-mall headbangers. Audibly, the band was a contemporary of grinding grunge angst-merchants like Nirvana and Jane's Addiction, with less of the outsider-poet appeal. It also, arguably, is the inheritor of the dense, psychedelic proto-metal of groups like Blue Cheer, picking up on its thick-as-a-brick wall of cosmic sound and casting it in iron. Its first studio album in five years, 2006's 10,000 Days, debuted at No. 1 in seven countries (including ours). It's meditative and spacey, making heavy-handed use of non-Western instrumentation and whispering semi-coherently about doom and madness — awesome makeout music for the disaffected Hot Topic set. Tickets $40. — Fensterstock




Deadstring Brothers
8 p.m. Mon., Nov. 19
The Parish at the House of Blues, 225 Decatur St., 310-4999;

With its 2006 Bloodshot Records debut Starving Winter Report, the Deadstring Brothers unleashed a swaggering, staggering storm of Exile style. Based in Detroit, the band's raggedy, whiskey-fueled rock owes less to Motown's horn-based heat than to straight-up, dirt-road blues and country, run through with slash-and-burn guitars, gospel piano pounding and a pummeling backbeat. The band's latest release, this year's Silver Mountain, is sexy, low-slung and soulful, balancing barroom sneer with near-blistering emotional heat in a way that evokes the best of the brothers Allman and Flying Burrito plus plenty of Stones-style country honk. If you want to cry in your beer and then bust someone's head with the bottle, this show's for you. Tickets $8.50. — Fensterstock




Big Easy Shorts Festival
Thu.-Sun, Nov. 15-18
The Shops at Canal Place, Canal Place Cinema, 333 Canal St., third floor, (626) 476-7976;

The first Big Easy Shorts Festival showcases a wide variety of short films, including marquee names (like Jennifer Aniston, pictured) to local documentaries to offbeat stories. The three-day schedule features ten different programs of four to six films grouped by common themes or genre, including comedy, drama, thriller/horror, documentary and animated/experimental. Subjects range from coming-of-age and search-for-love stories to an encounter with the tooth fairy, an animated coffee addict, and a grandmother with a collection of death paraphernalia sure to inspire envy in any young goth. Many of the films will be screened for the first time, and some are by local filmmakers and NOCCA students. New Orleans stories are included in a documentary program and feature an insider's look at last year's Saints journey to the playoffs. New Orleans native Laura Martone and her husband Daniel established the Beverly Hills Shorts Festival three years ago as an avenue to highlight short films. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Martones created this festival to help support the film industry, filmmakers and artists here. The festival will donate ticket sales to the Tulane Community Health Center at Covenant House. Proceeds from the opening night party, (8 p.m.-11 p.m., Thu., Nov. 15, Harrah's Casino) will go to Friends of New Orleans, a nonprofit organization that works to gain national attention for the New Orleans rebuilding effort. Tickets $10 per program, $5 students, $75 three-day pass, $37.50 student pass. — Lindsey Netherly

  • Cherie O'Brien

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