The festival is a week away, and already there are lineups in New Orleans' clubs at night that read like double play combinations.
Friday: Al "Carnival Time" Johnson CD-release party with Big Al Carson, Waylon Thibodeaux, Big Daddy O, Lindsay Mendez, John Autin, Omari Neville and RYN, 7 p.m., Howlin' Wolf: Al "Carnival Time" Johnson doesn't hurry his songs, coming out now with the first album of his career. In recent years, he's rewritten his theme song a few times for different occasions, so it's possible that his CD is an album's worth of songs set to the same music - but unlikely. In addition to Johnson, the lineup includes John Autin's Rabadash Records' all-stars. (tickets) Also on Friday: Papa Mali and Friends, Colin Lake, 10 p.m., Tipitina's (tickets); Elijah Von Cramon benefit with Bipolaroid, Holy Wave, Super Nice Brothers, Birthstone, DJ 9RIS 9RIS, 10 p.m., Siberia (tickets); Crystal Castles, Doldrums, 9 p.m., House of Blues (tickets); Alvin Youngblood Hart's Muscle Theory, 10 p.m., d.b.a.; 2013 DMC New Orleans Regional DJ Battle, Tony Skratchere, DJ Spin, DJ Immortal, Jermaine Quiz, 9 p.m., Hangar 13
Saturday: 4/20 feat. Curren$y, Corner Boy P, Young Roddy, Fiend and more, 11 p.m., The Howlin' Wolf: April 20 has become a stoner's holiday, so there is no shortage of weed-enriched entertainment for the evening starting with Curren$y and the JETS Posse, who give lie to the rumored laziness that supposedly accompanies smoking. (tickets) Also on Saturday: Gravity A, Paradim3, 10 p.m., Tipitina's (tickets); Highstock 4/20 feat. BMG Pound & Dusty Money Fam, Daniel Heartless, New Renaissance, Raw D.I. & more, 10 p.m., House of Blues (tickets); Mars, Suplecs, Sunrise: Sunset, The Weakness, 10 p.m., Siberia (tickets); Dayna Kurtz, 9 p.m., Chickie Wah Wah; Iron Lion Reggae Fest IV with Jessie Jendah, Christini & Irie Trinity, Ken Serious & more, noon, Hangar 13
Sunday: Mean Jeans, Hollywood, King Louie's Missing Monuments, Buck Biloxi and the Fucks, DJ Hank Hill, 10 p.m., Siberia: While punk has always had a cadre of fight the power types, there have also been plenty of post-Ramones, joyfully, intentionally meatheaded bands throwing their refusal to grow up in America's face. Mean Jeans, meet America. (tickets) Also on Sunday: Youngblood Hawke, 8 p.m., House of Blues (tickets)
Tuesday: Stanton Moore Trio, 8 & 10 p.m., Snug Harbor: This is the official start of Jazz Fest - the first time this week that people who rarely play together play together on Frenchmen Street. Moore's trio includes organist Robert Walter and guitarist Will Bernard, and they tend to live in the space where funk, rock and jazz intersect. Also on Tuesday: The King Khan and BBQ Show, The Delusionaires, Heavy Lids, 10 p.m., Siberia: (tickets)
Thursday: Jonathan Scales Fourchestra, The Quickening, 10 p.m., Howlin' Wolf Den: Tonight, the night before Jazz Fest, the army of funk/jam bands are getting in position, but I'm more interested in this quartet for bass, drums, sax and steel drums. It's a configuration we're unlikely to see at any other time during the festival fortnight. (tickets) Also on Thursday: Slightly Stoopid feat. Karl Denson with special guests Ian & Ivan Neville, Tribal Seeds, Dastardly Bastards feat. Nikki Glaspie, Ian Neville, Andrew Block & Stoopid Horns, 8:30 p.m., House of Blues (tickets); N. Mississippi Allstars, The London Souls, 10 p.m., Tipitina's (tickets); Jimbo Mathus & Tri State Coalition, 9 p.m., Chickie Wah Wah; Houseman's Lounge, 10 p.m., Little Gem Saloon's Ramp Room (tickets); A Silent Film, Royal Teeth, 10 p.m., Hi-Ho Lounge; Stanton Moore Trio, Terence Higgins, DJ Logic, 8 p.m., Blue Nile (tickets); Papadosio, Gypsyphonic Disko, Naughty Professor, 10 p.m., Howlin' Wolf (tickets)
Friday, the EMP Pop Conference starts in New Orleans. The annual national gathering of pros and amateurs who think seriously about music has split into a number of regional conferences this year including one at Tulane. The conference is free but requires registration. Unfortunately, Friday is at capacity, but organizers have been able to move Saturday and Sunday's panels into larger rooms to accommodate all the interest. Besides interesting talks, EMP has always been valuable as a place to meet and run crazy theories with the other people who share your interests and know what you're talking about. The schedule is online here.
Nick Spitzer's American Routes radio show celebrates its 15th anniversary Friday with a show at the Rock 'n' Bowl that will include Tremé Brass Band, the Lost Bayou Ramblers, Irma Thomas, Robert “Barefootin’” Parker and Walter “Wolfman” Washington, and Ivan Neville, most performing with a band led by Jon Cleary. The show starts at 8.
For those in Lafayette, Baton Rouge, or up for a road trip, I'll be Lafayette Saturday participating in the Louisiana Soundtrack Experience, presented by The Oxford American and the Louisiana Office of Tourism. At 2 p.m., I'll moderate a panel on preservation at the Acadiana Center for the Arts with folklorist Barry Ancelet, writer Herman Fuselier, The Lost Bayou Ramblers' Louis Michot, and Yvette Landry from the Yvette Landry Band. At 4, there will be a screening of the film Sunshine by the Stars - versions of "You Are My Sunshine" performed by musicians from across Louisiana - and at 6:30 at Parc Sans Souci, there will be a free show with Corey Ledet and his Zydeco Band, and C.C. Adcock and the Lafayette Marquis with guests from Lil' Band o' Gold. It should be a good event - I hope to see you there.