December 21, 2009
YCGTNO - Live Local Music
Posted by Trey Drury

Let's begin Your Conglomerate Guide to New Orleans talking about music.  There are so many places to see music around town, and one perfectly acceptable option is to wander around the French Quarter and listen to performers on the street.  While this approach can be rewarding and fun, the suggestions that follow are for folks who are looking for a little bit more.

If you may not want too much more, and are looking for classic brass-band jazz, Preservation Hall is the spot for you.  Walking distance from the conference, Preservation Hall features musicians who have been playing together for years, performing numbers that have been around for decades, in a building that looks like it hasn't been cleaned in centuries.  Great atmosphere for a quick look at the roots of jazz.

If you want to see what is happening in jazz today, Snug Harbor is a great option.  It is my favorite traditional jazz venue in town, and regular performers have familiar names like Marsalis, Neville, and Batiste.  If a major figure in jazz shows up in town, Snug Harbor is that person's most likely destination.

If you are willing to venture out and away from the conference, one option is to head uptown, to the neighborhoods that line the streetcar route along St. Charles avenue.  There are a number of spots worth a look, most of which play more funky, exciting, danceable music.  One choice is Tipitina's, the club made famous by Professor Longhair.  Further along is the Maple Leaf Bar,  which has the Rebirth Brass Band every Tuesday, and live music every night.  If you want a destination, an event that will occupy your whole night, head to Rock n' Bowl.  This combination music club/bowling alley hosts some great local acts, and has a fully functioning set of bowling lanes that are open all night.

If you are more interested in the future of New Orleans music, head to the other side of the French Quarter, in the Marigny.  Acts there have a later start, a younger crowd, and more original music.  The showcase of this scene is a string of different clubs on Frenchman Street.  The quality of the acts varies night by night, and it is worth a look to wander up and down before picking a home base.

If you're feeling adventurous, try Ernie K-Doe's Mother in Law Lounge on the edge of the Treme.  Unfortunately, both Ernie and his wife Antoinette have passed on, so no impromptu performance of Mother in Law, and no show with Ernie and his Blue-Eyed Devil Revue (both awesome).  But this spot survives as a shrine to that whole scene.

If you need a calendar of things to do, check the Livewire at WWOZ. It lists all of the live local music around town on any given night.  Also, if you're looking to get in the mood, WWOZ has an internet stream that plays local favorites 24/7, 365 days a year.  Also, if you want to bring a little of the music home with you, the best spot is Louisiana Music Factory on Decatur Street, only a few blocks from the conference. 

This listing is just the tip of the iceberg, so check the livewire and venture out.  See you at the clubs!

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