This month the holiday season has brought in several truly excellent shows. The month begins with the legendary Ms. Lauryn Hill at the Saenger Theater Dec. 1. This show is the part of the MLH Caravan: A Diaspora Calling Concert Series. Based around her Inaugural Diaspora Calling! performance at The Kings Theater in Brooklyn, each stop on this tour will feature guest performances from artists throughout the African diaspora.
The legends continue the next night, Dec. 2, with John Prine at the Saenger. Prine is widely regarded as one of the best songwriters of all time. There is a great bridge between the private and the profane in Prine’s work. He is able to build links between the devastating nature of personal tragedy and the often bleak humor that perspective can add to these moments. The intimate nature of the Saenger should make for a wonderful event. Prine will be accompanied by the folk duo Shovels and Rope. A perennial favorite on the folk scene, they should set the stage perfectly for the main event.
A few nights later on Dec. 6, Seu Jorge will be at the Civic Theater. Jorge came to prominence when his David Bowie covers were featured as part of Wes Anderson’s film The Life Aquatic. As a tribute to Bowie’s recent passing, Jorge will perform his covers of Bowie’s classic songs on a set that mirrors the environments of Anderson’s film.
If you’re looking for something a bit more experimental, the instrumental prog rock ensemble Animals as Leader will be at Republic Dec. 8. The DC-based group have just released their fantastic new record The Madness of Many.
There are two classic alt rock shows this month. First, The Afghan Whigs will play their classic record Black Love in its entirety on Dec. 10 at The Civic. This show is a benefit for guitarist Dave Rosser, and will feature a slew of special guests including Ani DiFranco and Morning 40 Federation. Just a few nights later, The Jesus and Mary Chain will visit the Joy Theater on the 16th. The Scottish post-punk visionaries have visited us a couple of times since their reformation in 2007. This time they’re supposedly working on new material. This is a show that you don’t want to miss. The group is still as hard-hitting as ever.
On Dec. 17, head over to the Maple Leaf for Walter “Wolfman” Washington’s Birthday Bash. You can expect a fair number of special guests to sit in with the Roadmasters that night. If you’re looking for something a bit more on the post-punk side that night, you can catch Merchandise over at Siberia.
Also on the 17th, Jim James will step back from his role at the front of My Morning Jacket to bring his solo show to the Civic. James just released his second solo album Eternally Even to a great deal of critical acclaim. With his penchant for collaboration and longstanding friendships in New Orleans, it should be fairly safe to expect some surprises from this show. James has the outstanding Louisville group Twin Limb supporting him on this tour.
Note: Dates are subject to change. Playlist of mentioned bands available at: bit.ly/InTune12-16
As usual there’s a ton of great music to be had on and around New Year’s Eve. Start off the holiday early with a two-night stand by Dr. John at Tipitina’s Dec. 27-28. On the big night, Dec. 31, Tip’s will have Galactic supported by Boyfriend. You never know who will show up to join them for this show. Also this night you can catch Amy Schumer at the Smoothie King Center for what I assume will be a very entertaining evening of comedy. Over at the Maple Leaf, Johnny Vidacovich will be hanging out with Monk Boudreaux, June Yamagishi and the Charlie Wooton Project. Finally, the Orpheum will be ringing in the New Year with the homecoming of the Revivalists who will be supported by the Seratones. There is no better place to start the new year off right.
To contact Mike about music news, upcoming performances and recordings, email Mike@MyNewOrleans.com or contact him through Twitter @Minima.