The musical options for this week include a hugely popular, reunited R&B group from the 1990s, as well as a newly minted rap star and a funk legend.
7:30 p.m. Thursday, Smoothie King Center, sold out.
Atlanta-based contemporary R&B girl group Xscape released only three albums in the 1990s before disbanding. But those albums yielded the enduring hits “Just Kickin’ It,” “Understanding,” “Feels So Good” and “Who Can I Run Too.” The four women decided to reunite this year. They kicked off their reunion tour at the 2017 Essence Festival in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Unfortunately, the pent-up demand for Xscape was underestimated, big time. Xscape was booked for one of Essence’s secondary “superlounge” stages, rather than the main stage. The result was a crush of frustrated fans as fire officials and police closed off access to the overcrowded superlounge. The group returns to New Orleans as part of its "Great Xscape" tour, this time headlining the Smoothie King Center on a bill with Monica, Tamar Braxton, Zonnique and June’s Diary. But some fans are likely to be disappointed once again: The show is officially sold out. Tickets are even hard to find on the secondary market.
Dr. John & the Gris-Gris Krewe
9 p.m. Thursday, Tipitina’s, $45
In late 2012, New Orleans legend Dr. John fired his longtime band and hired a new one led by Sarah Morrow, a trombonist from Ohio. Many longtime fans grumbled that the new ensemble didn’t fit him or his music. He kicked off 2017 by cleaning house once again. Morrow’s rocky tenure came to an end, and the Dr. John band, rechristened the Gris-Gris Krewe, was once again populated with locals, including new musical director and bassist Roland Guerin. The good doctor has been working on a new album. His Thursday night show is the second of two consecutive nights at Tipitina’s. The Mardi Gras Indian funk band Cha Wa opens.
9 p.m. Friday, Joy Theater, sold out.
In 2017, Bronx, New York-born stripper turned rapper Cardi B solidified her newfound stardom with the smash “Bodak Yellow,” which Rolling Stone magazine placed fourth on its list of the year’s best singles. The bodacious Cardi B also graced the cover of the magazine’s “Hot” issue. In August, she made a surprise appearance with G-Eazy and Halsey at the Blue Nile for a private show sponsored by Bud Light. She returns to town an even bigger star to headline the Swisher Sweets Artist Project’s “NOLA Takeover,” the culmination of a national concert series presented by the cigar maker. She’s joined by rapper Machine Gun Kelly and Mannie Fresh, the New Orleans producer-DJ who crafted Cash Money Records’ biggest hits. Attendees must be at least 21.
George Clinton & Parliament-Funkadelic
Friday-Saturday, Tipitina’s, $38 advance, $41 day of show.
George Clinton was initially a doo-wop singer before he launched the crazy-quilt funk bands Paraliament and Funkadelic in the 1960s and ’70s. He and his costumed bandmates united one nation under a groove spiked by Hendrix-ian guitar heroics. His space funk-from-the-future hits included “Flashlight,” “Tear the Roof off the Sucker” and the roaring guitar instrument “Maggot Brain,” as well as epic concerts that could be magnificent or a mess, often simultaneously. A few years back, he did something really radical: He cut off his colorful braids and started turning up onstage in a suit. Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic have seemingly rediscovered Tipitina’s, following a 13-year absence between 1999 and 2012. They'll funk up Tipitina’s for two nights this weekend. DJ Soul Sister, who often opens for Clinton at his New Orleans performances, and Miss Velvet & the Blue Wolf are also on the bill for both nights. Two-night passes are available for $70.
OTHER NOTEWORTHY SHOWS
The Joy Theater hosts a fundraiser to restore the historic Eagle Saloon, with opening act Dr. Michael White & the Liberty Jazz Band, followed by the Perdido Street Legacy Band featuring Donald Harrison Jr., Delfeayo Marsalis, Germaine Bazzle, Charlie Gabriel, “Big” Sam Williams, Sasha Masakowski, James Andrews, Detroit Brooks and more.
Versatile jazz musician Evan Christopher leads listeners down his Clarinet Road at Snug Harbor.
Deacon John & the Ivories kick off three nights at the Little Gem Saloon.
The House of Blues hosts a tribute to Billy Joel and Elton John.
The New Mastersounds groove at the Joy Theater, with Khris Royal & Dark Matter opening.
Long-running local rock fusion band Woodenhead plugs in at Chickie Wah Wah.
Vibraphonist Jason Marsalis & the 21st Century Trad Band are at Snug Harbor.
Coyotes, Motel Radio, Cardinal Sons and more band stage a tribute to Tom Petty at One Eyed Jacks.
Organist Albinas Prizgintas, in his guise as The Phantom of the Opera, presides over a free concert of organ, piano and harpsichord at Trinity Episcopal Church, starting at 5 p.m.
Topsy Chapman & Solid Harmony intermingle gospel, blues and R&B at Snug Harbor.