Things that should be on your radar this week.
An unusually good week in the summer for high profile shows:
Friday: The Bo-Keys, 10 p.m., d.b.a.: This Memphis R&B band is populated by one less musical lifer than it was last time it was in town. Guitar Skip Pitts - best known for playing the wah-wah guitar intro for "Theme from Shaft" - passed away in the meantime, but this combination of younger musicians and R&B vets embraces the classic R&B verities .
Saturday: Miranda Lambert, Josh Abbott, Wade Bowen, 7:30 p.m., UNO Lakefront Arena: Reports from this tour say the feisty country star is including some surprising R&B and rock covers in her set these days. (tickets)
Also of note on Saturday - Lower Dens, No Joy, Alan Resnick, the Dropout, 10 p.m., One Eyed Jacks (tickets); First Annual Second Line Showdown: Battle of the Footwork Ladies Edition, 10 p.m., Tipitina's (tickets)
Monday: Guantanamo Baywatch, Beach Day, Birthstone, DJ 9ris 9ris, !0 p.m., Siberia: Every generation discovers certain basic paths into rock 'n' roll's primal place. Garage and rockabilly are two, and Portland's Guantanamo Baywatch revisits surf music with just enough precision and a lot of spirit. (tickets)
Tuesday: Van Halen, 7:30 p.m., New Orleans Arena: The band has cancelled its tour after this show. According to Eddie Van Halen, they "bit off more than they can chew." Not sure what that means, but he spoke of still getting sick before shows. One website's unconfirmed report says he gets hiccups that last five to six hours, and hiccuping affects his precision. #pleaseletitbetruepleaseletitbetrue (tickets)
Wednesday: Got Fame with Famous Stranger, the Show, Alia Fleury, Paasky, Megan Moret and Float'n, DJ Fox and DJ JG, 8 p.m., Republic: This budget-priced show features R&B and hip-hop artists on the verge of breaking through. (tickets)
Thursday: Flaming Lips, Grimes, 6 p.m., House of Blues: This show culminates the band's attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records for most shows in a 24-hour period. They're going for eight, starting in Memphis and working their way to the Crescent City. The stunt will be partially covered by the O Music Awards online; the show promises surprises which may translate into musical guests considering the mini-tour is timed to the release of Flaming Lips and Their Heady Fwends. (tickets)
Ralston Crawford and Jazz, Friday, 5 p.m., New Orleans Museum of Art: Tonight, The show "Ralston Crawford and Jazz" opens at NOMA with a musical performance by Dr. Michael White and, at 6 p.m., a panel discussion titled "Ralston Crawford in New Orleans" with the show's curator Olivia Lahs-Gonzales and photographer John Lawrence, Director of Museum Services for the Historic New Orleans Collection. The Canadian-born, Buffalo-raised artist had a teaching residency at LSU for most of the 1950s, during which time he came to New Orleans to photograph the city and its jazz musicians. They and the music were the inspiration for his painting, drawing, print-making and films, though it's not always obvious how. His work - even the portraits - play with forms and the contrasts between light and dark. If nothing else, the photos will fuel those who love to play "ain't dere no more" when looking at photos of New Orleans. You'll love when you see the one thing that still is.
RJ Smith's Book Signing, Tuesday, 6 p.m., Octavia Books: Writer RJ Smith wrote The One: The Life and Music of James Brown, an excellent biography of the Hardest Working Man in Show Business. According to The Onion's AV Club, "no one has written a more complete overview of this most monumental of American artists. " Smith will be on hand to talk about Brown and sign books.
Chopped Viewing Party, Tuesday, 8 p.m., Rendezvous Tavern: Linda Green, best known as Ms. Linda, the Ya-Ka-Mein Lady, will appear on The Food Network's cooking competition show Chopped on Tuesday night. She'll be at the Rendezvous Tuesday night to see how she does, and she'll be serving ya-ka-mein.
Michael Patrick Welch.org: When I edited OffBeat, there were few people I dealt with who could be as butt-headed as Michael Patrick Welch, but the others weren't as interesting as he is. His writing always has a clear point of view, which I'm glad about even when I don't agree with it. He's launched a site to provide a home for his work including writing for New Orleans: The Underground Guide, and I like that he introduces the pieces with some context and/or backstory. Now he's pissed me off again because that's something I hoped to make more a part of my writing here, and it will look like I nicked it from him. Dammit!