Frequent concertgoers in the city probably have been to House of Blues (225 Decatur St., 504-310-4999; www.houseofblues.com/neworleans) at least once. General Manager Robert Rizzuto explains the idea for the venue was conceived after the success of "The Blues Brothers" sketch from NBC network's Saturday Night Live and the eponymous 1980 feature film, both starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd.
"John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd partnered with Isaac Tigrett, who opened Hard Rock Cafe [another music-themed venue], to come help open House of Blues," Rizzuto says. "They picked New Orleans because of the music. Dan loves the city. He still comes here quite often because he has a place in Mississippi. Actually, he takes the train down."
The New Orleans venue opened in 1994 and was acquired by Live Nation in 2005.
House of Blues has booked talent including Foo Fighters, Cyndi Lauper and Drake.
"We have a history with a lot of [artists], so they do like to come back and play here," Rizzuto says. "We have a wall backstage ... called the Sold Out Wall. Anyone who plays here and has sold out a show gets their name on the wall, and if they sell out many times, they get a little tick next to their name. It's kind of neat to go (backstage) and see the history of everyone who's played in this building."
House of Blues hosts arena-level concert artists in an intimate space. Foo Fighters filmed an installment of the group's HBO series Sonic Highways at House of Blues after playing for a much larger audience at the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience that same year.
Not only does the venue host popular touring bands and acts, it also holds many events that feature local culture and color, such as the fourth annual Brewsiana Craft Beer & Music Festival held in August.
The venue also has the members-only Foundation Room up-stairs, which has a lounge with live entertainment, dining service, a full bar and private party and social rooms. Members get first crack at buying tickets for House of Blues and Live Nations shows as well as VIP accommodations at concerts and some opportunities to meet entertainers.
In addition to Brewsiana and a weekly Sunday Gospel Brunch, House of Blues hosts themed parties.
"Sometimes we try to create a party around a tribute band," Rizzuto says. "This year it's Rumors, which is a Fleetwood Mac tribute band. We encourage costumes and have different music in different rooms beforehand that will complement [the event]."