We have been presented with an exceptional confluence of talent across the city with some seriously heavy hitters in town this weekend. No matter what your interests or musical tastes there is a little something for everyone. Friday night is a tad absurd in terms of the amazing shows available. First and perhaps foremost, Kraftwerk is bringing their 3D show to the Orpheum. The German electronic ensemble is in many significant ways responsible for the way music sounds now. They established the synth laden framework upon which modern pop music has been erected. This is a once in a lifetime show and the remarkable sound in the Orpheum will be a perfect compliment to the parade of hits. At the same, time just down the street, Joanna Newsom will be playing at the Civic Theatre. It’s been about six years since Newsom last played New Orleans, so this is a rare treat indeed. Newsom’s style flirts with several musical styles but most closely fits in the realm of psychedelic folk. She is a multi-instrumentalist who focuses on the harp and piano. Her compositions are moving and orchestral while remaining accessible. Her 2015 release Divers was one of my favorite records from last year. Newsom’s shows are events — she ranges over the entire scope of her catalog and often tests new material. If you’re looking for something more visceral than Kraftwerk, this is the show for you. Staying on Friday and in the theater district (how great is it that we have a theater district again), Sturgill Simpson will be playing the Saenger. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ve heard me talk about Simpson quite a bit. Simpson has almost single handedly transformed the alternative country scene. He broke out in 2014 with Metamodern Sounds in Country Music (which was one of my top records of that year) and returned this year with the outstanding A Sailor’s Guide to Earth. While Simpson has made recent appearances at Jazz Fest and Voodoo, this will be an opportunity to see him in a much more intimate controlled environment. There is a delicate excellence to Simpson’s music that the theater space will definitely accentuate. If you are looking for a more intimate show on Friday, Michelle Zauner’s project, Japanese Breakfast, will be playing at Siberia. Her 2016 record Psychopomp is a fantastic reworking of some of her earlier lo-fi songs into sweeping indie garage arrangements. Finally on Friday the experimental electronic ensemble Crystal Castles will be playing One Eyed Jacks. If you hurry over from Kraftwerk you should be able to hear the foundation of the modern electronic sound and it’s legacy in the same evening.
If all that were not enough, Saturday boasts a couple of heavy hitters of its own. First, Ashanti will be playing the Joy Theater. Ashanti’s sixth record is expected before the end of the year, so you can expect to hear some new material at this show. Finally for the big acts of the weekend, Elle King is opening for the Dixie Chicks at the Smoothie King Center Saturday. The Dixie Chicks have long been local favorites. If you are looking to make a weekend of country music, Sturgill Simpson Friday followed by the Dixie Chicks Saturday is a pretty good combo.
On the whole, you really can’t go wrong this weekend. Get out there and see some of the excellent live music that is passing through.
To Do This Week
Other than the shows listed above, don’t forget about Mild High Club at Gasa Gasa tonight. You can catch Pujol at Gasa on Sunday. Gary Clark Jr. will be at The Civic on Monday. Wednesday night there are four excellent shows. Dinosaur Jr. will bring their long standing brand of noise rock to Tips. Also on Wednesday, Olga Bell will open for Floating Points at Gasa. Finally that night Flume will play the Orpheum while Quilt is down at the Hi-Ho.
To Listen This Week
Sylvan Esso have released the studio version of their excellent track “Radio” via Youtube.
Sia and Kendrick Lamar have released an outstanding video for their track “The Greatest” via Youtube.
The Shins have dropped two tracks from their upcoming record via CoS.