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Not unlike Nikola Tesla,Êthe famed electrophysicist for whom it was named, Tesla existed outside of its time. Had the Sacramento, Calif., hard-rock band emerged a decade earlier, it would have been hailed as a hair-metal progenitor. A decade or two later, and it might have meshed with the current crop of '70s-feting power-chord pushers. Instead, Tesla came of age in the late '80s, a period of considerable unrest in the pop canon. The Great Radio Controversy (1989) conflated the big, bruising refrains of 1986 debut Mechanical Resonance with the kind of surprisingly sensitive fare to follow. (The baroque finger-picking on the hit single "Love Song" set the stage for 1990's Five Man Acoustical Jam and, by extension, MTV's entire Unplugged franchise.) Its first foray into song-covering was an unqualified success; somehow, Jam's version of the hippie anthem "Signs" infiltrated the Top 10. Tesla rolls into New Orleans with more stone-washed nostalgia as Real To Reel (self-released in June) revisits classics from the Rolling Stones to Derek and the Dominos. Matt Genovese opens. Tickets $36. -- Noah Bonaparte Pais

8 p.m. Thu., June 21

House of Blues, 225 Decatur St., 310-4999;

  • Charr Crail

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