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GoNOLA Guide to Live Music in New Orleans in May

Tank and the Bangas (Photo: Katie Sikora)

We have finally made it, y’all: we’re headed into the home stretch of spring festival season in New Orleans. The season started off strong right as Mardi Gras ended, and it’s taking us all the way through the month of May. As with any festival here in New Orleans, music is the heart and soul. And though our biggest music festival (The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival) is coming to a close, we’re keeping the music going with plenty of live shows this May.

May 2: All Damn Day Jazz Fest Jam at The Maple Leaf at 1 p.m.

This mid-week festival celebration featuring Cris Jacobs Band, Honey Island Swamp Band, Funk Monkey with Arsen Delay, Lamont Landers band, Percy J, and more at only $20 for the entire day’s worth of local musical favorites is the perfect way to keep your Jazz Fest going during the mid-week slump.

Flow Tribe (Photo: Katie Sikora)

May 3: Flow Tribe at Gasa Gasa at 10 p.m.

Few bands arouse a crowd into a collective shake like Flow Tribe. The six-member band’s onstage chemistry reflects a seamless combination of soul and movement that hits the audience within the first few notes. First-time listeners and avid fans alike are drawn in by the distinctive sound that feels both familiar and original. Outfitted for each performance in colorful, carefully-selected suits, it’s clear their focus is sharp. This is the work of professional musicians who’ve found their passion and are living a dream where everyone’s welcome to be a part of it.

Tank and the Bangas (Photo: Katie Sikora)

May 4: Tank and The Bangas & Sweet Crude at The Sugar Mill at 9 p.m.

The Sugar Ball on Saturday, May 4 at The Sugar Mill brings a stellar lineup of all-star talent during the second weekend of Jazz Fest with Tank & The Bangas’ “Green Balloon” Record Release Party. The night will also feature co-headliner St. Paul & The Broken Bones, featuring Sweet Crude and Valerie Sassyfras.

May 10: DJ Soul Sister at Tipitina’s at 10 p.m.

DJ Soul Sister is the award-winning “queen of rare groove,” and one of the longest-running live DJ artists (mixing and blending 100% vinyl) in New Orleans. Soul Sister has taken the nightlife by storm, known more for its top-notch live musicians than its underground DJ scene. To her credit, Soul Sister’s parties and live DJ sets are now regarded and respected alongside those of her jazz, blues, rock, R&B, and funk musician colleagues, many of them fans.

May 16: Good For Nothin’ Band at Maison at 4 p.m.

The Good For Nothin’ Band is essential to the New Orleans music scene. Their music tells you the stories of characters you didn’t know you needed in your life. Check it out and decide for yourself.

May 16: Mykia Jovan at Three Keys in the Ace Hotel at 8:30 p.m.

Mykia Jovan is a vocalist and songwriter from New Orleans. Her distinctive voice often draws comparison to Billie Holiday and Erykah Badu, while her original compositions and live performances have established her as singular voice in the modern progressive soul scene. Jovan was nominated for 2017’s Best Emerging Artist award in New Orleans, her debut album was named a Top 50 album of the year and her lead single ’16 shots’ was included on Spotify’s official State of Jazz playlist alongside artists like Christian Scott and Kamasi Washington.

Sexual Thunder! (Photo: Katie Sikora)

May 18: Tipitina’s 4th Annual Graduation Throwdown featuring Sexual Thunder!, Miss Mojo, and Jank Setup at 10 p.m.

Sexual Thunder! is an American funk music act, based in New Orleans. This eight (nine? ten?) piece funktastrophy brings together elements of deep funk and contemporary dance music to create grooves to keep your body moving. Miss Mojo is a soul-pop band based in New Orleans that strives to move audiences through its potent songwriting and high-energy live performances. The newest of the bunch, Jank Setup is the embodiment of dysFUNKtion: slightly off and wholly unique. Jank Setup is a group of diverse artists who converged to form an innovative high-energy eight-piece band. The progressive group presents soulful vocals supported by funk instrumentation fused with a full horn section.

May 23: Cyrille Aimee at Gasa Gasa at 9 p.m.

Improvisation is not just a technique for Cyrille Aimee, it’s a way of life. The acclaimed vocalist ventured from singing on street corners in Europe to dazzling audiences at the world’s most prestigious jazz festivals, braving the notoriously tough audiences at New York’s Apollo Theatre, and being called a “rising star in the galaxy of jazz singers” by the New York Times. Catch her along with Handmade Moments and Julian Hernandez at Gasa later this month once you’ve had the chance to wind down from Jazz Fest.

Katie Sikora graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in Visual Journalism and worked as Photo Editor at The Peninsula Pulse in Door County, Wis., Media Strategist for Levy Restaurants in Chicago, Ill., and an Archivist at The National World War II Museum in New Orleans, La. before pursuing her namesake photography business shooting everything from shark tagging research to vodou ceremonies and—you guessed it—weddings! Her photographs have been published by The Chicago Sun-Times, Gambit, The Times-Picayune, RedEye Chicago, The New Orleans Advocate, Houseshow Magazine, Antigravity Magazine, In The Bite Magazine, Thrillist, CBS Chicago, NBC Chicago, and the World Wildlife Fund amongst others. She is the creator and director of The Sexism Project, an ongoing portrait and interview series featuring the stories of real women in real industries experiencing real sexism.

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