An early-rising indie rock enigma, a late-blooming R&B singer, a young-American psych wunderkind, an unsung old-guard Englishman and a stampeding Canadian gold rush all walk into a bar ... You know it's New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival time when Deerhunter (Monday), METZ (Wednesday), Terry Reid (Friday), Youth Lagoon (Saturday) and Charles Bradley (Sunday) line up in a row at One Eyed Jacks.
Bradley (pictured) is the only act also playing at the fest. The Gainesville, Fla., native, former cook and onetime James Brown impersonator — who with his 2011 debut No Time For Dreaming, at age 63, gave powerful, literal new meaning to the term impressionist — performs Saturday at the Fair Grounds, making this surely unchained show his wrap party. His second album, this month's Victim of Love (Dunham/Daptone), picks up where Dreaming left off, smoldering old soul led by grooved guitars, stabbing horns and Bradley's pained voice, a tattered kite he lets fly above every refrain. Hurray For the Riff Raff opens. Tickets $20.
Deerhunter's sixth album, Monomania (4AD), doesn't arrive until May 7, but the unpredictable Atlanta band debuted its title track a month early on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon with one of the strangest guest appearances Fallon (or anyone else) has ever seen: singer/songwriter Bradford Cox performing in character as Connie Lungpin, a wigged-out Alice Cooper with vampire fangs, his left hand mangled and wrapped in gauze. Just as the lurching song spins out of control, Lungpin seems to lose interest, wandering offstage (with a camera) to lurk the halls of the NBC offices like a bloodthirsty 30 Rocker. Jackson Scott, Mas Ysa and KG Accidental open. Tickets $15. — Noah Bonaparte Pais