This week's options for live music include an outsider singer-songwriter, a cutting-edge contemporary R&B singer and multiple blues-based guitar heroes.
Grayson Brockamp & the New Orleans Wildlife Band
8 and 10 p.m. Thursday, Snug Harbor (626 Frenchmen St.), $15
Bassist Grayson Brockamp moved to New Orleans from North Carolina four years ago. With genre-defying trumpeter Nicholas Payton serving as a mentor, Brockamp carved out a niche for himself on the local scene. He eventually assembled a shape- and sound-shifting ensemble, Grayson Brockamp & the New Orleans Wildlife Band, that includes his brother-in-law, Bailey Hinton, on vocals and keyboards, plus saxophonist Ricardo Pascal, trumpeter Ashlin Parker, pianist Shea Pierre and drummer Simon Lott. The group has just released its self-titled EP via Payton’s Paytone Records. Payton, himself a dedicated musical explorer not confined by stylistic boundaries, served as producer for the project, which touches on soul, swing, blues and gospel. The band celebrates with two sets at Snug Harbor.
Daniel Johnston & Friends
7 p.m. (film screening), 9 p.m. (performance) on Thursday, Joy Theater, $32.50-$52.50
Daniel Johnston is an icon of underground music. While battling bipolar disorder, he has churned out hundreds of drawings and songs about his yearnings and challenges, his “unrequited love, cosmic mishaps and existential torment.” As with many such cult figures, he’s made fans out of far more prominent musicians, including Eddie Vedder, Beck, Tom Waits, Jeff Tweedy and the late Kurt Cobain. Johnston was the subject of the 2005 documentary film “The Devil and Daniel Johnston,” which won the documentary director's award at the Sundance Film Festival. His current tour, called "Hi, How Are You," is being billed as his last. The evening kicks off at 7 p.m. with a screening of “The Devil and Daniel Johnston,” followed by a performance at 9 p.m. At each stop on the tour, he’s backed by different musicians. In New Orleans, he’ll be joined by the Preservation All-stars, an ensemble drawn from the pool of musicians who populate Preservation Hall.
8 p.m. Thursday, House of Blues (225 Decatur St.), $25
The “Women of the Future” section of a recent issue of Rolling Stone led off with contemporary R&B singer SZA. Hailing from New Jersey, where she was known as Solana Rowe, SZA released her long-awaited debut album, “Ctrl,” in June; already it has been hailed as one of the year’s best. Over spare, chill beats and stripped-down, trippy arrangements, her voice takes on a dreamy, otherworldly quality as she muses on sex, relationships and related issues. On the track “Love Galore,” she is paired with rapper Travis Scott. In the accompanying video, a scantily clad SZA seduces Scott in a dimly lit boudoir, eventually tying his arms to the bed and, in an unexpected twist, leaving him to a rather gruesome fate. She brings the tour in support of “Ctrl” to the House of Blues on Thursday. Ravyn Lenae is also on the bill.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd
8 p.m. Friday, Orpheum Theater, $39.50-$62.50
At age 40, Kenny Wayne Shepherd is already 22 years removed from his major-label debut, “Ledbetter Heights,” released when the Shreveport native was 18. A self-taught guitar prodigy, Shepherd took inspiration from the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan and New Orleans’ blind blues guitar hero, Bryan Lee. Shepherd’s brand of blues-rock yielded two platinum albums and a gold album in the 1990s, thanks in part to such rock radio hits as his signature “Blue on Black.” The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band includes longtime vocalist Noah Hunt, former Stevie Ray Vaughan drummer Chris Layton and, as of June, New Orleans keyboardist Joe Krown. A digital download of Shepherd's recent “Lay It On Down” album is included with every ticket purchased for his Friday night gig at the Orpheum Theater. Opening the show is the Apocalypse Blues Review, which features drummer Shannon Larkin and guitarist Tony Rombola of the hard rock band Godsmack.
Other notable shows this week:
Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie are featured for Zydeco Night at Rock ‘n’ Bowl.
Keyboardist Jon Cleary plays a free, solo 7 p.m. show at d.b.a. (the club closes afterward for a private event).
Blues guitar legend Buddy Guy plugs in at the House of Blues, with Marty Sammon opening; tickets are $70.
1980s guitar pop band The Producers visits Southport Hall.
Gal Holiday & the Honky Tonk Revue top a triple bill at One Eyed Jacks.
“Sacred steel” guitarist Robert Randolph & the Family Band is joined by Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas at the House of Blues.
The Honey Island Swamp Band hits d.b.a. for the late set.
See the Stone Foxes at Gasa Gasa.
Pianist and composer Courtney Bryan performs two sets at Snug Harbor.