A look at the week ahead in music in New Orleans starting tonight with The Best of the Beat.

Photo of Calexico

Friday: OffBeat's Best of the Beat Awards, 6 p.m., Generations Hall: I'm no longer with OffBeat, but its annual awards show is always a good party - good food and a lot of music. This year I'm looking forward to see what cellist Helen Gillet comes up with in an accordion jam, Dee-1 with Mannie Fresh, and the closing revue of many of New Orleans' great R&B singles artists - The Dixie Cups, Robert Parker, Frankie Ford, Jean Knight and Al "Carnival Time" Johnson supported by the great Ernie Vincent. (tickets); Also on Friday: Nicki Bluhm and The Grumblers, 8 p.m., House of Blues (tickets), Linnzi Zaorski, 10 p.m., Little Gem Saloon

Saturday: Krewe du Vieux and Krewe Delusion: Mardi Gras unofficially starts irreverently this weekend with the Krewe du Vieux parade with Grand Marshal Bethany Bultman from the New Orleans Musicians' Clinic, followed by the Krewe Delusion parade and its Grand Marshal, Cheeky Blakk. KdV starts at 6:30 p.m. and will be followed by Krewe Delusion. Also on Saturday: Coyotes, Roadkill Ghost Choir, Vox and the Hound, 10 p.m., One Eyed Jacks (tickets), Thousand Dollar Car, 10 p.m., Le Bon Temps Roule

Sunday: B.B. King, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, 7 p.m., Tipitina's: The sound in people's heads when they think of the archetypal blues guitarist is that of B.B. King. (tickets) Also on Sunday: Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, 10 p.m., One Eyed Jacks (tickets), Perpetual Groove, The Malah, Naughty Professor, 10 p.m., The Howlin' Wolf (tickets), Curren$y, Corner Boy P, Young Roddy, 10 p.m., House of Blues: (tickets), Royal Teeth, Prom Date, Mobley, 9 p.m., Eiffel Society

Monday: EMEFE, The Honorable South, 10 p.m., The Howlin' Wolf's Den: I'm a sucker for Afrobeat, and I like what I've heard from this NYC-based Afrobeat band. (tickets )

Wednesday: Los Lobos, Papa Mali, 9 p.m., Tipitina's: Los Lobos will return to New Orleans for Jazz Fest, but club dates in rooms as intimate as Tipitina's don't come every day. (tickets) Also on Wednesday: Honey Island Swamp Band w/ Colin Lake, 10 p.m., The Maple Leaf

Thursday: Calexico, Bahamas, 10 p.m., One Eyed Jacks: The Tucson-based band came to New Orleans before Christmas 2011 to lay down the basic tracks for Algiers, the album they released last fall. It isn't their "New Orleans" album, but it is the most tuneful and exciting Calexico album in a few years. The time here was productive. (tickets) Also on Thursday: The Other Planets, Tim Robertson Power Trio, 10 p.m., The Circle Bar

This week also includes four shows that are sold out. The Radiators reunite at Tipitina's on Friday and Saturday nights, which is the Fishhead Super Bowl weekend, and the reclusive Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel plays an early and late show at One Eyed Jacks on Wednesday. You're going to have to know somebody to get into those.

Other Stuff

On Sunday, the NOLAsychoniCITY Film Series presents Harry Shearer's The Big Uneasy at 8 and 10 p.m. at Buffa's Back Room, with a 6:30 screening of Shearer's 2002 comedy Teddy Bears' Picnic as well. Shearer will be on hand for a Q&A between screenings. 

Al "Carnival Time" Johnson will be Al "Super Bowl" Johnson for a week or so this year. He has recorded a new version of his Mardi Gras classic to celebrate the week that interrupts Mardi Gras that doesn't involve the New Orleans Saints thanks to Roger Goodell.

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