Star-studded benefits dominate the week in New Orleans at night, particularly on Saturday.
Friday: Pedrito Martinez Group, Ariacne Trujillo plus Rumba Buena, 9:30 p.m., Tipitina's: Last year, Cuban-born percussionist Pedrito Martinez is in New Orleans to play the Congo Rhythms Festival in Armstrong Park this weekend, but he's doing a club show tonight. (tickets) Also on Friday: The Western Crooners, Country Fried, 10 p.m., Circle Bar; Earphunk LP-release party, Naughty Professor, 8 p.m., House of Blues (tickets); The Tintypes, Lucky Lips, Jimbino Vegan and the Jazz Cannibals, 10 p.m., Siberia (tickets); Rebirth Brass Band, Gravy Flavored Kisses, 10 p.m., The Howlin' Wolf (tickets); Twangobangorama, 10 p.m., Carrollton Station; The Stone Foxes, 10 p.m., The Maple Leaf
Saturday: Jason Marsalis Vibes Quartet CD-release party, 9 p.m., Little Gem Saloon: I recently reviewed In the World of Mallets, which once again touches on a sly wit and ambition larger than he makes obvious. (tickets) Also on Saturday: Eric Clapton, 7:30 p.m., New Orleans Arena (tickets); Bring the Houseman Home benefit for Theryl "Houseman" DeClouet, with Galactic, Theryl "Houseman" DeClouet, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, The Revivalists, John Gros, June Yamagishi and more, 9:30 p.m., Tipitina's (tickets); Sports & Leisure, Sweet Crude, Cardinal Sons, 10 p.m., One Eyed Jacks (tickets); Wessell "Warmdaddy" Anderson benefit concert featuring Irma Thomas, Allan Toussaint, Ellis Marsalis, Jason Marsalis, Irvin Mayfield, Germaine Bazzle, Davell Crawford, Dr. Michael White, Ed "Peculator" Perkins, Donald Evans, Victor "Red" Atkins, Ingrid Lucia, Derek Douget, David Torkanosky, Roland Guerin, Leslie Smith, Larry Seiberth, Detroit Brooks, New Orleans Swamp Donkeys Traditional Jazz Band and Lagniappe Brass Band in The Den, 9 p.m., The Howlin' Wolf (tickets); Katey Red, Violent Vickie, NANCY, aboynamedruth, 10 p.m., Siberia (tickets); Kevin Gordon, 9 p.m., Chickie Wah Wah; King James and the Special Men, 11 p.m., d.b.a.; Mike Epps, 8 p.m., Lakefront Arena (tickets)
Sunday: Cappadonna, 10 p.m., Hi Ho Lounge: In his heyday, George Clinton had albums on six or seven labels with different members of the P-Funk family; these days I get a similar feel from Wu-Tang Clan and its spin-offs. Also on Sunday: Luke Winslow-King with Leyla McCalla, 10 p.m., d.b.a.; Average White Band, DJ Soul Sister, 8 p.m., House of Blues (tickets)
Monday: Hot Chip, Howling Hex, 9 p.m., House of Blues: This British electronic band ranges from house to pop, and the show is one of seven on their American tour, the first being this weekend at Ultra, the EDM festival in Miami, and the finale coming at Coachella. New Orleans. (tickets)
Thursday: Leonard Cohen, 8 p.m., Mahalia Jackson Theater: Leonard Cohen's voice and music have been waiting for him to age into them, so he has never been more compelling than he is now. (tickets) Also on Thursday: Cedric Burnside, 6 p.m., Ogden Museum of Southern Art; Nathan and the Zydeco Cha-Chas, 8:30 p.m., Rock 'n' Bowl
Comedian Christian Finnegan is preparing to shoot a concert DVD, and he'll do two shows this weekend at The New Movement Theater, playing Friday and Saturday night at 8 p.m.
Hogs for the Cause started as a pig roast to raise money for the family of a child afflicted with pediatric brain cancer and has grown into a major pork cook-off, this year with music on two stages. The cause remains the same, but this year Hogs starts Friday afternoon at 4:30 with a tailgating session as barbecue enthusiasts can meet the 80 teams in competition this year and go behind the scenes with pros and inspired amateurs alike for beer and bites. Friday night, there will be a gala, and the main event takes place Saturday in City Park on its new festival grounds. Entertainers include the soulful Lee Fields and the Explosions, Robert Randolph and the Family Band with guest Anders Osborne, Rebirth Brass Band, The Revivalists, The Apache Relay, Mississippi Rail Company, and Eric Lindell. This year, I'll be cooking with the good people from Ubon's Barbecue from Yazoo City, so stop by and say hi.
On Saturday and Sunday, Congo Square Rhythm Festival returns to Armstrong Park for two days of free world music with a strong slant toward brass bands and African rhythms. Music runs from 11 a.m. to almost 8 p.m. both nights with the Pedrito Martinez Group headlining Saturday night, and the bhangra brass band Red Baraat closing the festival Sunday. Another of Sunday's highlights should be the Stooges Brass Band with guests Dee-1 and 3D Na'Tee.