5 NOLA Bands You’ll Want to See Live

These may be fighting words depending on where on this Earth you may be, but I’m here to argue that New Orleans is the worldwide capital of live music. I mean, just check out WWOZ’s Livewire calendar – it’s almost too much information to process. Show me another city that has this kind of diversity in their live music, and I’ll shut up. Until then, listen up.

I try to see live music as often as possible. Whether that means saving up to buy an expensive ticket for a touring act or stumbling into Tip’s for their Friday night shows, I’ll always try to find an excuse to see a show. It’s a reason to be out and to be social, so if your liver is telling you no, at least your ears can tell you yes.

Having so many options can get a little confusing at times. When you have an average of 50-100 live acts per night, it gets a little difficult to decide who to see. Live music is just fun, so if for nothing else, go for the showmanship. Of course there’s the ones out there that everyone knows, bands in the Rebirth category of you-should-see. When they’re not playing, though, or if you just want something new, here’s 5 live acts you should definitely not miss in New Orleans:

1) Sweet Crude

Mixing indie rock with folk and various Southern Louisiana musical influences, seeing Sweet Crude live is like seeing a mix of modern indie pop with the music your uncle Boudreaux from down the bayou listened to. They often sing in French, so you get that extra feeling of authenticity, if the raging dance party didn’t already do that. It’s a wonderful blend of cultures: the rest of the world’s indie pop, and Louisiana. What’s not to love?

Spoiler: I’m in that video. Find me and win a prize.

2) Dumpstaphunk

Once referred to as the greatest funk band in New Orleans, Dumpstaphunk came about for a last minute set at Jazz Fest a few years back. It’s been all uphill then for Ivan and Ian Neville and their 5-piece set. If you want to listen to something truly funky and get down and dirty, don’t miss a chance to swing your head with these NOLA legends. Their shows are very high energy, but also embrace the intimacy of a small funk show.


They’re new, and they’re going to make a scene. Made up of members of MyNameIsJohnMichael and Cardinal Sons, among others, TYSSON blends alternative pop with R&B to form an amazing sound and an ethereal live show. They’ve only played a few times, but I can tell that anything coming out of TYSSON or any related projects is worth seeing.

No live video yet, but trust me on this one. 

4) Andrew Duhon

Singer songwriters aren’t often the ones to make the “you should see live” list unless you’re really into their music. Andrew Duhon, however, puts on a fantastic live show. He seems to be a natural on stage, and can certainly portray that through his multiinstrumentalism. He plays regular shows, and he’s definitely worth seeing if you like watching talent.

5) The Breton Sound

These guys are just all around rock stars. You could classify it as punk, alternative rock, or just good music, these guys have been making a name of them in the past year or so. I recently saw them do a Weezer cover show, and that blew me away. They were incredibly energetic on stage and on point with their music. They’re only getting bigger, so see them while you can.

I’ll admit, this list isn’t as good as it can be. The reason for that is that there’s a block party with live music going on right now right outside of my office. It’s a little distracting, to say the least, but it just goes to show you – this city does a killer job at live music.

About Eric

Eric is a New Orleans native and graduate of Loyola. He grew up in Kenner and is embarrassed to tell you that. He lives Uptown and frequents local watering holes to socialize with peers. His hobbies include writing, making bad jokes, and casually observing the day to day life of New Orleans.

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