The live music options in New Orleans for the first full week of 2018 include an Americana singer/storyteller, a local sax stalwart celebrating a new CD and one of pop's driving forces.
Tony Dagradi CD release party
8 and 10 p.m. Thursday, Snug Harbor, $15
Saxophonist Tony Dagradi’s epic New Orleans music resume includes backing such legends as Professor Longhair and James Booker, a decades-long tenure with modern jazz ensemble Astral Project and pulling occasional duty in the woodwinds section of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. He’s also educated scores of young musicians as a professor at Loyola University. Dagradi celebrates the release of his latest album, “Gemini Rising,” with two sets at Snug Harbor on Thursday. For the shows, his New Orleans Sax Quartet will feature acclaimed jazz drummer Ricky Sebastian.
7:30 p.m. Friday, Smoothie King Center, $26.50 and up
Katy Perry catapulted herself onto the top tier of pop stardom with a succession of playful and/or powerful singles (think “I Kissed a Girl,” “California Gurls,” “Roar,” “Firework,” “Dark Horse,” “Teenage Dream,” etc.) and a bold, often wacky visual sense. Her current, fifth album, “Witness,” is not as easily consumed as past efforts. But by all accounts, shows on her ongoing “Witness: The Tour” are every bit as eye-popping as past outings. Expect surreal, outer space-themed footage, exuberant choreography, colorful costumes and oversize puppets when the show stops in New Orleans this weekend. Canadian singer Carly Rae Jepsen, best known for the 2012 global smash “Call Me Maybe,” opens the show; her fourth album is scheduled for release in early 2018.
Deacon John & the Ivories’ tribute to Allen Toussaint
9 p.m. Friday, Rock ‘N’ Bowl, $10
For more than 50 years, “Deacon” John Moore has entertained successive generations of New Orleanians at every imaginable social event, cranking out jump blues, New Orleans R&B, disco, Motown, gospel, Beatles covers, “Uptown Funk” and everything in between, usually in his trademark fedora and bow tie. He’s had no hits of his own but played on a bunch of other New Orleans rhythm-and-blues hits thanks to legendary New Orleans producer, songwriter and pianist Allen Toussaint. Toussaint “made me a part of New Orleans music history,” Moore has said, recruiting him for recording sessions for Irma Thomas’ “Ruler of My Heart,” Ernie K-Doe’s “Mother-in-Law,” Lee Dorsey’s “Working in the Coal Mine” and other classics Toussaint wrote and produced. Decades later, Deacon John sang at Toussaint’s memorial. On Friday, days before what would have been Toussaint’s 80th birthday, Deacon John and his band, the Ivories, will perform their third annual Toussaint tribute at Rock ‘n’ Bowl.
8 p.m. Saturday, Joy Theater, $25-$35
Todd Snider has long relished his role as a Nashville outsider, a singer-songwriter in the tradition of John Prine who considers careening around slightly out of control to be part of the job. He’s released some well-received folk/alternative country albums of his own, and written songs that other, more mainstream country artists have covered. In 2014, he also published a book, “I Never Met A Story I Didn’t Like,” that collects many of the off-kilter, often hilarious yarns about his life and career that he spins onstage. Snider will be telling more of those stories during a solo performance at the Joy Theater this weekend. Guitarist Luther Dickinson, of the North Mississippi Allstars, opens the show.
OTHER NOTEWORTHY SHOWS
New Orleans Suspects saxophonist Jeff Watkins, whose resume includes tenures backing both James Brown and Joss Stone, powers his band Hip Pocket at the Maple Leaf.
The Parish of the House of Blues presents the Bad Girls of Burlesque, as the HOB’s main room hosts the tribute Bricks In the Wall: The Sight and Sound of Pink Floyd.
Local “yacht rock” band Where Y’Acht – they specialize in covers of smooth rock songs from the 1970s and '80s — stages a Twelfth Night tribute to yacht rock legends Steely Dan at Tipitina’s.
Kermit Ruffins & the BBQ Swingers team up with the Iguanas at Rock ‘N’ Bowl.
Mardi Gras Indian funk band 101 Runners hosts a Twelfth Night celebration at the Maple Leaf.
Moroccan-born guitarist Mahmoud “Mood” Chouki holds court at Snug Harbor.
The House of Blues presents “Run for the Shadows,” a theatrical David Bowie tribute, in the main room, as Bustout Burlesque takes over the adjacent Parish.
The John Mahoney Big Band presents “The Battle of New Orleans Suite” at Snug Harbor.