Summer in New Orleans can be a drag. The heat is the most prominent obstacle, but it’s also a down season for the city’s sports fanaticism, its crawfish tastes, and the normal deluge of outdoor festivals. Starting with Jazz Fest in April/May, music fans have to brace for a slower (though not entirely empty) music calendar through August.
Then… things pick back up as the temperatures go back down. VoodooFest looms in late October as the second or third biggest festival around NOLA, and 2015 sees another fall event (The Landing Fest) join the fray. And as the national release calendar picks up—in September alone, notable releases from Destroyer, Baio, Big Grams, Telekinesis, Beirut, et al—so too does the amount of touring acts passing through. While NOLA still may not be a first tour city for the major critical darlings in any year (D’Angelo and Future Islands both have yet to come from last year, nevermind Destroyer or Deerhunter this year), there’s still plenty of music worth the ticket price.
Can’t miss for Sept./Oct.
Any October, you can pencil in one must-see event—Quintron + Miss Pussycatt playing Halloween at One Eyed Jack’s. It’s as much a part of the New Orleans’ music fabric as Kermit Ruffins or a second-line at this point, and since they can’t do it forever there’s never a better time than now.
The rotating calendar proves just as robust. VoodooFest likely has its best lineup since this fan came into town two festivals ago, boasting a diverse lineup of seasoned performers like Metric, Chance The Rapper, Florence + The Machine, Girl Talk and more. Smaller critical darlings like Toro y Moi and Godspeed! You Black Emperor shouldn’t be missed, as nights like Small Black + Painted Palms for less than a $20 count as bargains no matter what city you’re in. But among the stacked two months of shows, the biggest can’t miss is likely Diet Cig. The small Upstate NY band has a name that will make you chuckle but songs that take you back to early 2000s sensibilities. “Harvard” may be the clubhouse leader for song of the year; why not catch it live?
If spending $50…
[Diet Cig, 9/17 at Gasa Gasa—$10]
[Small Black + Painted Palms, 10/14 at Gasa Gasa $12]
[Quintron, 10/31 at OEJ—$22] = $44
Heartless Bastards—One Eyed Jacks (9/9) Wed
Passion Pit—Joy Theater (9/9) Wed
Quinton + Miss Pussycat—Tipitina’s (9/11) Fri
Diarrhea Planet—Gasa Gasa (9/12) Sat
Earl Sweatshirt—Republic (9/12) Sat
Godspeed! You Black Emperor (9/12) Sat
Patton Oswalt—Mahalia Jackson (9/13) Sun
Diet Cig—Gasa Gasa (9/17) Th
Thee Oh Sees—One Eyed Jacks (9/20) Sun
Colleen Green—Siberia (9/20) Sun
Blues Traveler—Civic (9/22) Tue
Landing Festival featuring Cake, Dr. Dog, Eagles of Death Metal and more—South Shore (9/26-9/27) Sat, Sun
Billy Idol—House of Blues (9/28-9/29) Mon, Tues
Mynabirds—Siberia (9/30) Wed
Beach House—Civic (10/2) Fri
Albert Hammond Jr.—One Eyed Jacks (10/3) Sat
Electric Six—House of Blues (10/3) Sat
Run The Jewels—Republic (10/3) Sat
Tim Heidecker—Freret St. (10/5) Mon
Disclosure—Mardi Gras World (10/6) Tues
Doug Benson—Freret St. (10/7) Wed
Twin Shadow—Republic (10/8) Th
Todd Barry—Cafe Instanbul (10/9) Fri
Toro y Moi—Republic (10/13) Tu
Battles—Republic (10/15) Th
Small Black + Painted Palms—Gasa Gasa (10/14) Wed
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.—One Eyed Jacks (10/20) Tue
Reptar—Gasa Gasa (10/28) Wed
Voodoo Fest featuring Santigold, Metric, Florence + The Machine, Modest Mouse, Chance The Rapper, Girl Talk, Third Eye Blind, Peaches and more—City Party (10/30-10/31) Fri, Sat
Quintron + Miss Pussycat—One Eyed Jacks (10/31) Sat
Mastodon—Civic (10/31) Sat