When heading into April, I always tell myself that the month simply cannot be as busy as I remember it being last year – then I look at the show listings. Keep your energy drinks near at hand and prepare to catch sleep whenever you can. The month begins with two double shots. On April 4, depending on your mood, you can catch Brooklyn hip-hop impresario Talib Kweli at the Howlin’ Wolf or Athens, Georgia’s rockers, of Montreal. In either case you can expect a high-energy night of experimental playfulness. On April 12, another pair of excellent performers will be playing against each other. Midwest synthrockers Poliça will put on an intimate show at Gasa Gasa. Canny Leaneagh’s amazing vocals and stage presence will be barely contained by the stage at Gasa Gasa. The same night, The King of the Surf Guitar Dick Dale will play the Howlin’ Wolf. Personally, I’m a huge fan of Poliça, but this is a really tough choice.
We progress from two shows in a night to two nights in a row. On April 15, Lady Lamb (the Beekeeper), aka Aly Spaltro, will be playing Gasa Gasa. (Note: A special interview with Spaltro will appear in Griffith’s online column April 9.) She has just released her second studio record After. Her sound is an intensely guitar driven journey through the poetics of love and loss. There is an enthusiastic catharsis present in her music that translates to her live performances. The next night, April 16, the Young Fathers will be performing at Republic. The Young Fathers are an alternative hip-hop group from Scotland. This group won the 2014 Mercury Prize for their third record, Dead. The supreme competence of the Young Fathers, combined with their penchant for crossing genres and combining the modern and traditional often translates into shows that are supremely engaging and challenging to our regular conceptions of what music can be.
Just three days later, April 19, Katie Crutchfield, who performs under the name Waxahatchee, will return to town to play Gasa Gasa. Her 2013 album Cerulean Salt is one of my favorite records of the last few years. Her new record Ivy Tripp will be out on April 7, so look for the show to be heavy in new tunes. Two nights later on April 21, electronic musician Dan Deacon will be at Republic. Deacon’s shows depend on audience participation, so you should be prepared to be swept into the performance. Deacon’s latest release Gliss Riffer is a fantastic exploration of the digital pop sound.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the Bard himself, Bob Dylan, will be at the Saenger theater on April 29. While I’m never sure which Dylan will show up anytime I go to a show, I generally make a point not to miss one.
Note: Dates are subject to change. Playlist of mentioned bands available at: bit.ly/InTune4-15
Favorites for Festing
Of course, there’s also the small matter of French Quarter Fest and New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival this month. Since there isn’t enough space here to do either festival justice, I’m going to give you five guaranteed great shows for FQF and JF Week 1 now. Keep an eye on my web column (MyNewOrleans.com/Blogs/In-Tune/) for a full breakdown of each day of each fest.
French Quarter Fest:
The Tin Men
Shovels and Rope
Joe Krown Trio
Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn
Beausoleil avec Michael Doucet: 40th Anniversary
To contact Mike about music news, upcoming performances and recordings, email Mike@MyNewOrleans.com or contact him through Twitter @Minima.