The New Orleans music scene in December begins with a seriously excellent four nights of music. First, Kat Dahlia will play the House of Blues on the 2nd. Dahlia hails from Cuba by way of Miami and has a remarkable flow on the mic; look for great things from her down the road. On the 3rd at the Howlin’ Wolf, hometown hip-hop artist Jay Electronica will open for Common. This will be a seriously excellent night of old school hip-hop and is not to be missed. If you’re looking for something a bit calmer, that same night Alanna Royale will bring their infectious blend of funk and soul to Gasa Gasa. Their new record, Achilles, is incredibly catchy and their shows are guaranteed to make move your feet. The next night (the 4th if you’re keeping track), Cleveland-based art-pop band, mr. Gnome, will be taking the stage at Siberia. On their haunting new record, The Heart of a Dark Star, they continue to build their sonic landscapes. Expect an eclectic but unified field of musical experimentation. Finally, on the 5th, NPR favorites Johnnyswim will bring their Christmas show to the House of Blues. These folk-pop troubadours are in the middle of the contemporary Americana scene. It will be interesting to see what they have in store for a holiday celebration.

If you have any strength left after that long week of music, there are several other shows of note this month. On the 10th ILL DOOTS will be at the Circle Bar. This collective of artists began as a series of informal dorm room jam sessions and has expanded to an eight (sometimes plus) member ensemble with a huge sound. In the relatively small space of the Circle Bar, you can expect to be right up with the band as they generate their fantastic brand of hip-hop. Old school ska act Mustard Plug will be at Siberia on the 14th. Their latest album was funded through Kickstarter and continues the big horn-driven sound of their early work. Dan Potthast, a cofounder of MU330, is opening this show. Potthast’s latest record, My Living Room, is a wonderful collection of acoustic songs. This will be a great show for those of us who cut our teeth during the mid-1990s ska boom. 

To contact Mike Griffith about music news, upcoming performances and recordings, email or contact him through Twitter @Minima.
Note: Dates are subject to change
Playlist of mentioned bands available at:

Uptown Downtown

What is New Year’s Eve in New Orleans without some great musical accompaniment? I recommend two excellent and long standing NYE traditions. First, if you’re Uptown, Galactic will be holding court at Tipitina’s. Galactic has grown quite comfortable in their roll as the stewards collecting and collating the sounds of New Orleans. Expect a packed house and any number of guest appearances. If you happen to be downtown, check out DJ Soul Sister’s 12th annual Soul Train party at One Eyed Jacks. I guarantee you will dance into 2015.