It seems amazing that Carnival is already here again. It always seems like it’s an eternity away in December and then it pounces upon us all at once. There are some really great shows coming this month to augment your usual Mardi Gras festivities, starting with the Krewe du Kanaval—one of the youngest Carnival organization. This Krewe was created for the 2018 Mardi Gras season by Win Butler and Régine Chassagne of the band Arcade Fire and Ben Jaffe of Preservation Hall Jazz Band. The seed for this organization was planted back in 2015 when Butler and Chassagne brought Jaffe and the members of Preservation Hall to Haiti for an exploration of Chassagne’s—herself a daughter of Haitian immigrants—musical heritage. I’ve been keeping a close eye on this group as it has evolved over the past couple of years and I have to say it seems like they have really found their stride with this season’s plans.
The Kanaval Ball will be the evening of Friday the 14th, with headlining performances by Arcade Fire and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. The event also features a remarkable group of Caribbean musicians. The lineup includes outstanding Haitian DJ Michael Brun who has made a career of deftly blending electronic dance beats with traditional Haitian styles. They will also be joined by Jillionaire—the Trinidadian DJ and producer know for his work with the Major Lazer electronic music ensemble. If that were not enough to sway you, the Haitian musician collective Lakou Mizik rounds out the top of the bill. Lakou Mizik came together after the Haitian earthquake to show the world that their country is more than the sum of negative representation in the media. This all goes down at the Mahalia Jackson and benefits the KANPE Foundation, which helps poor Haitian families achieve financial autonomy, and the Preservation Hall Foundation. If you’re interested in donating a bit more you can even ride with the Krewe as part of the Krewe of Freret the next day.
If you’re looking for something a bit more local, that same night John Papa Gros will be hosting his annual Carnival Kickoff at Tipitina’s. This is a great party which always features a wide variety of excellent local talent. You never really know who is going to show up, but you are guaranteed an amazing show.
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention the fact that the month begins with Tool performing at the Smoothie King Center on the 1st. Late last year the veteran progressive metal legends released their first record in 13 years to great critical acclaim. I was one of my personal favorites of 2019. Tool has always been a great friend to New Orleans. They have headlined Voodoo Fest twice and the UNO arena has been a regular stop on their tours. That being said, Tool doesn’t tour that often and you won’t want to miss this chance to see them.
Tool rocks the Smoothie King Center.
Flow Tribe funks up Tipitina’s .
Main Squeeze + Moon Hooch rock One Eyed Jacks.
John Gros kicks off Carnival at Tipitina’s.
Summer Salt breezes into One Eyed Jacks.
Zack Villere rocks Gasa Gasa.
Silversun Pickups rock the Fillmore.
Bon Iver enchants the Saenger.
Magic City Hippies pop at Gasa Gasa.
Dates are subject to change; email Mike@MyNewOrleans.com or contact him through
Playlist of mentioned bands available at: http://bit.ly/InTune2-20