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Arts & Culture

Gasa Gasa: Where New Orleans Music and Art Meet on Freret Street

Gasa Gasa is a new venue on Freret Street in New Orleans that incorporates art, high quality acoustics and underground touring and local bands.

Gasa gasa is a Japanese slang term for trying to do too much,” says Micah Burns, one of the lead partners and creators of Freret Street’s newest music venue. “It felt like the right name given all the different aspects we’re trying to bring together within these walls — live music, visual art, video mapping, art classes, film screenings. It’s almost like we’re aiming for overstimulation.”

Outside Gasa Gasa on Freret Street (Photo by Anna-Marie Babington)

Indeed Gasa Gasa manages to pack a lot of visual candy within its brightly colored walls without feeling cramped. Above our heads, the club’s figurehead, an eight foot statue titled “Berenice” by Richmond, Virginia sculptor Paul DiPasquale, flexes her tawny biceps as she sails through the air. Also on display are works by local painter (and Burns’ wife) Mary DiPasquale Burns and Art Director for Gasa Gasa, Mika Revell. Eventually the club will be host to changing installations from local artists.

While most of the intense recent development on Freret Street has centered on food and bars, Gasa Gasa will give New Orleans visitors another reason to head to this Uptown hotspot. While its neighbor Freret Street Publiq House offers more traditional New Orleans music several times a week, Gasa Gasa aims to bring in both local and touring rock, punk and alternative bands.

“Bernice,” Gasa Gasa’s eight foot figurehead by sculptor Paul DiPasquale

“The typical New Orleans fare has been well taken care by plenty of other clubs,” Burns notes, “we’re looking to appeal more to the independent and alternative music crowd.” Gasa Gasa’s aesthetic will be on par with One Eyed Jacks, but because of its smaller size, the Freret Street club will focus on less established touring bands that can’t sell out the bigger venues, bands that otherwise might bypass New Orleans altogether. Typical covers will range from $5-15, keeping shows accessible.

“We’ve invested a lot in getting the sound right ” he explains, noting that from the club’s considered acoustics and construction by Burns’ band mate, guitarist and contractor Gavin MacArthur, to its quality sound system and tech hand Michael Seaman, Gasa Gasa is aiming for “a premier sound in an intimate venue. This isn’t just a room with some speakers. Really, we’re trying to make the best sounding club in New Orleans.”

The Honorable South performed a high energy set at Gasa Gasa on July 20 (Photo by Benjamin Simmons, courtesy of Gasa Gasa)

Unlike most other local clubs, Burns notes that video mapping and 3D imagery will add a visual element to the musical experience, and eventually the club’s website will offer video downloads of all its performances.

Gasa Gasa
4920 Freret Street
Upcoming Gasa Gasa events

Allison Alsup is a local writer, designer and teacher. She is the co-author of the forthcoming French Quarter Drinking Companion to be published by Pelican Press this fall.

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