Sometimes Mondays can rain or drizzle on your parade, and making it to Hump Day can feel like an eternity. But if you are savvy about the many live music offerings across New Orleans from Mondays to Wednesdays, you can fill those nights with some culture. Who can say no to good music? Here are some shows happening during the week around New Orleans, proving that weekdays here are just as fun — if not more fun — than weekends anywhere else.
Alexis & the Samurai, the self-proclaimed “two-man trio” from New Orleans, plays every Monday at Chickie Wah Wah at 8 p.m. They have been treating the Crescent City to their energetic music for the last several years. Alexis Marceaux’s smooth and malleable voice is backed up by her guitar (or sometimes her tambourine) and Sam Craft’s (aka “the Samurai”) vocals and violin. Alexis & the Samurai has an almost haunting sound at times, but don’t let that scare you away from their Monday night show. Cover is $7.
Gasa Gasa, located on the emerging Freret Street corridor, hosts the Panorama Jazz Band every Monday from 10 p.m. to midnight. Panorama Jazz Band’s unique sound is the result of traditional jazz instruments like saxophone, trumpet and accordion playing alongside the clarinet and banjo in a musical whirlwind of Caribbean rhythms, folksy East European beats, and of course, the beloved jazz of New Orleans. Originally organized to play for a friend’s wedding in 1995, Panorama expanded and has played at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival as well as internationally. The show is free.
Visit King James & the Special Men at their headquarters– B.J.’s Lounge in the Bywater — on Monday nights at 10 p.m. With their soulful rhythm and blues, the King James & the Special Men show is perfect to sway along with. B.J.’s has an unassuming exterior, sort of like Vaughan’s, but once you are inside the Special Men will remind you of not-so-bygone New Orleans nights. Cover is only $5 and with it you receive your own hot bowl of red beans and rice.
On Tuesdays, the Hi-Ho Lounge features a Latin night of sorts with Pueblo Mutando performing at 9 p.m. and Congreso Cubano serving up Cuban fare like plantains and arroz con pollo. Described by Congreso Cubano as “a grassfed jazz super group dedicated to exploration of the unknown sound,” Pueblo Mutando — which means “a transforming town,” or “a transforming people” — is a newcomer to the music scene here. The show is free.
Oak Street is the hub of New Orleans’ Riverbend neighborhood and, though packed with shops and restaurants, it still feels quaint. That is, until Rebirth Brass Band gets rumbling on Tuesday nights at Maple Leaf. The show gets going around 10:45 or 11 p.m. and costs $15. Rebirth, one of New Orleans’ most well-known brass bands, has been playing at Maple Leaf for over a quarter century, infusing funk and hip-hop into their traditional brass band style. If you are looking for live music to dance to, this is a solid choice. Cover is $15.
Banks Street Bar & Grill is a Mid-City favorite and was an icon of resilience and neighborhood cohesion after Hurricane Katrina when it served free food and hosted candlelight shows by local musicians to the New Orleanians who remained in town. Every Wednesday at 10 pm. you can catch Grammy-nominated New Orleans blues rock band Major Bacon for a free show. Another freebie: the band also gives out free BLTs at the gig.
The Spotted Cat on Frenchmen Street is a cozy cash-only bar where the musicians have the window seat. On Wednesdays, the Cat hosts Antoine Diel & the Misfit Power from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. It is obvious as soon as Antoine opens his mouth and begins to sing that he has a gift. Anyone who loves music will not be able to leave the show without feeling positively overwhelmed by the strength and purity of his voice. Antoine Diel & the Misfit Power should not be missed. The show is free.
One of the many benefits of Bacchanal Wine is that it hosts live music every night of the week at no additional cost — just buy yourself a bottle of wine and a cheese plate and enjoy the flow of music in their backyard. You can catch Helen Gillet on Mondays, Mark Weliky Trio on Tuesdays, and Jesse Morrow Trio on Wednesdays from 7:30-10:30 p.m.