Freret Street club, Publiq House expands live music offerings

Since opening late last year, the Freret Street Publiq House has quietly been building up an audience for happy hour shows as well as nighttime concerts. Here’s a look at what’s been happening uptown.

Chris Mule and the Perpetrators, a side project of the Honey Island Swamp Band guitarist, singer, and songwriter, has been playing the Tuesday happy hour for the past month or so. His band plays songs associated with the HISBs as well as new compositions and choice covers.

The band includes a veteran of New Orleans music whose name is indelibly linked to the golden age of rhythm and blues. Alfred “Uganda” Roberts played congas with Professor Longhair for many years, and was also a studio player in the early days of Allen Toussaint’s Sea-Saint Studios.

I asked Mule how he came to work with Roberts in such an intimate setting as The Perpetrators sometimes play without a drummer (Andre Bohren of Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes is on the gig tonight). The guitarist reminded me that he has known the percussionist for decades. They played together in such sorely missed ensembles as Rickie Castrillo and Dreamland. Readers with long memories remember Castrillo as the long time master of ceremonies at Tipitina’s, and his catch phrase, “let all the monkeys out the box.”

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Another guitarist who has been on the scene for decades, and also logged time with a legendary musician holds down the happy hour gig on Wednesday. John Mooney studied under Son House, one of the last links to the earliest days of the Delta Blues.

Mooney has been a fixture on the New Orleans music scene since he first appeared in the Crescent City back in the early 1980s. His first rhythm section in New Orleans was Johnny Vidacovich and James Singleton. You can read about that in my book, Up Front and Center: New Orleans Music at the End of the 20th Century.

The Thursday happy hour features guitarist Colin Lake. The newest member of the uptown afternoon fraternity has been making quite a name for himself in recent years both with his band and with Cha Wa—the latest Mardi Gras Indian band on the scene. He will be appearing in the duo and trio setting.

For nighttime shows, the Publiq House is embracing a long-standing tradition in New Orleans—the Thursday night brass band blow out. The Brass-A-Holics begin at 9:30 PM. Some of you will recall the Rebirth tearing it up at the infamous Glass House on Thursdays.

Finally, stick around this Saturday after the Freret Street Festival for the after party with Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes, the Brass-A-Holics and Khris Royal and Dark Matter. Click the link for the musical lineup on April 6, 2013.

See you there!

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