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Preview: Debauche

Noah Bonaparte Pais on New Orleans' "premier Russian Mafia band"



There is no Russian Mafioso in Louisiana's premier Russian Mafia band. In fact, there is only one Russian: Yegor Romantsov, a sweat-slick, shirt-averse singer/guitarist around whom Debauche sloshes and swirls like a whirlpool of warm Stolichnaya. The 40-year-old Romantsov moved to the States in 1996 from his native Ukraine, where he led a perestroika-era punk band, kept his Dead Kennedys records under wraps and played festivals organized by the KGB. After eight years of silkscreening T-shirts and writing Slavic poetry in New York City, he relocated to New Orleans, landing in the Faubourg Marigny on the steps of the now-closed Kahve Royale Eastern European Cafe, strumming Cossack nocturnes for the shuttered Royal Street coffee shop's exfoliating walls and scruffy fauna. The current group is a concussed 7th Ward jukebox circulating Gulag folk songs as debauched Eastern Bloc jailhouse rock: a rhythm section (upright bassist Scott Potts and drummer Joe Lilly) inherited from the defunct Zydepunks, conspiratorial comrades including multitalented multi-instrumentalist Aurora Nealand and New Orleans Bingo! Show muse Stix duh Clown (aka Michael James of My Graveyard Jaw). Catch it on the right night and the program might involve bustiers (courtesy of the Slow Burn Burlesque troupe, the Pink Ladies to Debauche's T-Birds), communal borscht and homemade honey-pepper vodka. Back in the Circle Bar, you don't know how lucky you are. Norbert Slama opens. Tickets $10. — Noah Bonaparte Pais

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