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Winter exists—even in the South. It’s relatively warmer and most certainly dryer, but festival season goes away with the Halloween decorations in New Orleans just like everywhere else. For music, it means November and December is traditionally the lightest time of year for touring acts. There are no more major events in the area for bands to schedule performances around. And many bands simply take the holiday season off entirely, so those traveling are typically wrapping up dates confined to a small geographic area. So while early November had its fair share of major shows to catch—The New Pornographers, James Taylor, Thee Oh Sees—the calendar gets bare quickly moving towards the New Year.

Can’t miss for Nov./Dec.

A bare calendar is not an empty calendar, however. Caribou (pictured above) and FKA Twigs, names sure to be familiar to 2014 End-of-Year list watchers, cap off the Thanksgiving holiday for any incoming travelers. All-time R&B hero Usher and all-time hip-hero Common spice up an otherwise slow early December slate. On top of that, locals like Rebirth Brass Band and The Soul Rebels will pop up with standing gigs, and trumpet hero Kermit Ruffins wants to set a Guinness Record for jam session duration. New Orleans, quite frankly, will always have can’t miss nights.

Always, as it turns out, is the key word. However, the band in question spells it Alvvays. The newbies on the indie pop block garnered plenty of attention and fans when their debut self-titled surprised many this year. For merely $10, they pass through NOLA midweek at the delightfully intimate Gasa Gasa. It’s a show that’d be in competition for must-see status at any point, but it’s a particularly bright spot as the days get darker at the tail-end of 2014.

If spending $50…

[Alvvays, 11/18 at Gasa Gasa—$10]

[Caribou, 11/21 at One Eyed Jack’s—$18] = $28,  Phantogram/Common are expensive and everyone has a holiday shopping list…

Curated calendar

Pitchfork Nightcap (Thundercat, Peanutbutter Wolf, Win Butler DJ’ing)—One Eyed Jacks (11/01) Sat

Matisyahu—House of Blues (11/04) Tu

Har Mar Superstar and The Pizza Underground—Publiq House (11/07) Fri

New Pornographers—Civic Center (11/08) Sat

James Taylor—UNO Lakefront Arena (11/11) Tue

Thee Oh SeesOne Eyed Jacks (11/12) Wed

Brazilian Girls—Howlin Wolf (11/12) Wed

Lewis Black—Mahalia Jackson Center (11/13) Th

The Whigs—Gasa Gasa (11/14) Fri

Alvvays—Gasa Gasa (11/18) Tue

Kermit Ruffins—Bullet’s (11/18) Tue

Caribou—One Eyed Jacks (11/21) Fri

Phantogram, Young The Giant, Mayer Hawthorne—Champions’ Square (11/23) Sun

Rebirth Brass + GDA—Howlin Wolf (11/27) Th

FKA Twigs—Republic (11/29) Sat

Common + Jay ElectronicaHowlin’ Wolf (12/3) Wed

Hannibal Burress—Civic Theater (12/5) Tue

Usher—Smoothie King Center (12/6) Wed

Better Than Ezra—Harrah’s (12/30, 12/31) Wed

Billy Idol—House of Blues (1/21)

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