Top Concert Picks: March 17 - 23

00:00 March 17, 2014
By: Staff
[Courtesy of Tyrone Lebon]
Miley Cyrus plays the Smoothie King Center March 18

Miley Cyrus

Tuesday, March 18; 7:00 p.m.

New Orleans Arena, 1501 Dave Dixon Dr.; $106

Remember before Miley Cyrus went crazy at the VMA's and she was still America's Sweetheart? Time travel with me back to 2009 when "Party in the USA" (Time of Our Lives) came out…Ah, yes and a Jay-Z song was on. Those were the days. But let's not get too nostalgic. It's time to live life in the present. And presently, Miley Cyrus has 42 million likes on Facebook and almost 17 million followers on Twitter. Even Eddie Vetter dips his toe in the Miley brand, often swinging from stage lighting wrecking ball style. Her mass media branding of all things weed, pizza, burgers, cake, emojis and "high" fashion has given birth to none other than Bangerz Tour which will start on Valentine's Day in Toronto making stops across the country before heading to Europe. The tour will finish up in Barcelona in late spring. Love her or hate her, you have to admit the girl has some grit. The 21 year old has been starring in TV and movies like Hannah Montana since she was 13. Although her transition into music began with a country twang on Time of Our Lives moving into a techno-esque vibe on Can't be Tamed, she has since hit it out of the park in the pop realm with Bangerz. The album includes collaborations with Britney Spears, Nelly, Future, and Big Sean. Cultural canon or cultural wrecking ball? It's hard to tell, but rest assured that either way there are bound to be a ton of smoke and maybe a few mirrors. -Lauren Adam

LadySmith Black Mambazo

Wednesday, March 19; 8:30 p.m.

Tipitinas, 501 Napoleon Ave.; $27

First starting their journey in the 1960's in South Africa, LadySmith Black Mambazo, has since ignited audiences around the world with their traditional South African a cappella performances. Led by founder Joseph Shabalala, who started the group as a farm boy turned factory worker, the group gained much success in their native country quickly. Largely stemming from the traditional music of Isicathamiya, which first came about in the mines of South Africa when the native people were taken by the mine companies to work, the group's insatiable soul is sung in every note. By 1970, the group not only were banned from singing competitions in South Africa due to their overwhelming wins, but also had a radio performance that would lead to them being signed to a record deal bridging the way to over fifty recordings over their Grammy Award winning career. They're highly known for their work with American singer/songwriter Paul Simon for his Graceland album in the 1980's which skyrocketed the group to international fame. Simon would then go on to produce LadySmith Black Mambazo's first world wide release Shaka Zulu in 1988, gaining them their first Grammy Award for Best Folk Album. Since, the group has won two more Grammy's and has been nominated fifteen times. Their latest 2014 release, Always With Us, is a tribute to their matriarch Nellie Shabalala. Catch this award winning, beautifully harmonizing group while you can. Their voices and rhythms will blow you away. -Chris DiBenedetto

Mingo Fishtrap

Friday, March 21; 9 p.m.

Rock N' Bowl, 3000 S. Carrolton Ave.; $12

Starting off during a jam session while attending music school at the University of North Texas, Mingo Fishtrap honed their blues soul sound to the tee before relocating to their home of Austin, Texas, after recording their first album Succotash in 1997. Since, the band has released an additional five albums and one concert DVD entitled Live at The Granada in 2006. Guitarist and lead singer Roger Blevins Jr. represents his talent to a staggering degree. Not only can the man play one hell of a guitar, but his voice is a unique brand of Mississippi goodness that will draw in any crowd. The overall band is a tight, well-oiled music schooled machine. Radiating their brand of whiskey-soaked funk and soul, as the band describes it, the group's range is impeccable. They can go from a New Orleans funk tune to a low down blues number that swings into old school soul. They will keep you dancing and entertained as the 8-piece bands rumbles with honed horn lines, funky organ, and clever chord progressions. The hardworking musicians have toured from coast to coast, becoming staples in the festival circuit as well as sharing the stage with notable talents. In 2012, they signed with Intrepid Artists Booking and played over 100 shows in 2013. They return to New Orleans tighter and better than ever playing their brand of funk soul to anyone who feels like dancing. -Chris DiBenedetto

Elton John

Friday, March 21; 8 p.m.

New Orleans Arena, 1501 Girod St.; $27.45+

Elton John has largely become a legend in his own right. Over his decadent career, which spans five decades, the celebrated artist known not only for his musical talents but elaborate stage performances, has sold over 300 million records to date. He partnered with lyricist Bernie Taupin in 1967 when the two became songwriters for DJM Records. They have now collaborated on over 30 albums together. After their first top ten U.S. hit, Your Song, off Elton's second album Elton John in 1970, the duo finally emerged as the songwriting powerhouse that would define their careers for the rest of their life. Elton John's virtuoso blend of funk, rock, blues, and ballad piano held up by his distinct vocals and Taupin's catchy lyrics have led the performing artist to a more than successful career. His elaborate costumes have come to define the artist's whacky and energetic style that is also embellished in such hits as Crocodile Rock. However, it wasn't until 1973 when Elton's famed album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road was released staying at the top of the charts in both the UK and US for two months propelling him into the glam rock star that he was so well known as throughout the 70's. Since, Elton John has continued to record albums, sell out arenas around the world, and wow fans with his spunky attitude accompanied by his dynamic playing ability. He is truly an artist that has lasted through the decades with no signs of stopping. -Chris DiBenedetto

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