By Tara Bennett
As the leaves begin to turn, we begin to think of cooler temperatures and earlier sunsets. As we await for the return of pumpkin spice, many of our favorite musicians gear up for a new touring season.
The most important season of the music calendar is upon us, and the lineups of local venues are exactly as full as you’d expect. So full, in fact, that navigating them might just make you pine for the lax days of summer—which is why DIG sorted through the fall concert listings and assembled this handy music guide for the rest of the year from big arenas to cozy clubs. Not everything is on this list, of course, and new shows are being added all the time. But if you want to know what’s worth saving your money for, this will get you started. Stay tuned to DIG and DigBatonRouge.com for the latest on music in the Red Stick.
GWAR @ Varsity Theatre | September 2
Depending on your point of view, metal freaks GWAR are either an alien race bent on massive world destruction, or a satirical art project made during a bad trip, or the most vile, blood spewing rock monsters to ever grace a stage. Fair warning, their infamous stage show is not for the faint of heart, as they do many parodies of violent and sexual acts. You’ll also get slimed if you sit in the first few rows. It’s nontoxic goop, but unless you’re a die-hard fan, you may want to sit in the back for this one.
Favorite Track: “Let Us Slay”
Most Recent Release: Electile Disfunction ’08 (2013)
Diarrhea Planet @ Spanish Moon | September 11
You may pass on this band by its name alone, but don’t fool yourself. Diarrhea Planet is hard-hitting, unfiltered, metal-fueled fun. Compared to rock legends The Ramones, this six-piece unit from Nashville lives up to their hype with a whole lot of stage diving, crowd surfing, moshing, thrashing, hair flying, hair pulling, beer tossing, sweat dripping, shouting and screaming, stage climbing, and of course, monster guitar riffs. It makes you forgive the name entirely.
Favorite Track: “Separations”
Most Recent Release: Aliens in the Outfield (2014)
Beats Antique @ Varsity Theatre | September 22
World roots music meets live electronica with Beats Antique. Formed in 2007, the group has become noted for their mixing of genres concentrating heavily on Middle Eastern, Indian, and Asian influences. Added to their mixture of music is their one-of-a-kind stage performance utilizing eccentric outfits, choreographed dances, psychedelic visuals and insane inflatable props. Beats Antique is one parts live concert, one parts stage show, and all around rock opera.
Favorite Track: “Beauty Beats”
Most Recent Release: A Thousand Faces: Act II (2014)
The Mavericks @ The Manship Theatre | September 24
Kicking off Manship Theatre’s fall season is The Mavericks, an eclectic band that defies convention by combining neotraditional country music with Latin and Rockabilly influences. From their earliest shows as a garage band playing the punk clubs on Miami Beach, The Mavericks have had a skill for getting people to groove. After a 10-year hiatus, they’ve re-introduced music lovers to their genre-defying music melting pop.
Favorite Track: “Dance the Night Away”
Most Recent Release: Mono (2015)
Eli Young Band @ Varsity Theatre | October 2
The Eli Young Band sports some pretty impressive credentials with three No. 1 hits under their belt, along with a Grammy nomination, and an Academy of Country Music Award for Song of the Year for their hit “Crazy Girl.” This band is on top of the country music world, and the best quality of the group’s sound is that they aren’t trend chasers; they’re trend setters, hand-picking their sound and crafting their own place in the often-cliché country world.
Favorite Track: “Crazy Girl”
Most Recent Release: 10,000 Towns (2013)
Mystikal @ Varsity | October 9
New Orleans-bred rapper Mystikal has been preparing big things after his stint in prison from 2004-2010. He’s back in the spotlight once again, and is enjoying his resurgence thanks in part to his recent collaboration with Mark Ronson on “Feels Right.” His new album Original, his first release in 14 years, follows 2001’s Tarantula, which is a lifetime ago in music industry terms, but it feels good to have him back dropping beats.
Favorite Track: “Shake Ya Azz”
Most Recent Release: Original (2015)
Mavis Staples & Joan Osborne @ Manship Theatre | October 11
One’s a little bit gospel; the other’s a little bit rock ‘n roll. Grammy Award-winning legend Mavis Staples teams up with multi-platinum recording artist Joan Osborne on the highly anticipated national tour, “Solid Soul.” Backed by Staples’ band, the two singers will take the deliver a master class in song both individually and together.
Favorite Track: “Jaguar” and “One of Us”
Most Recent Release: One True Vine (2013) and Love and Hate (2014)
Website: MavisStaples.com & JoanOsborne.com
Better Than Ezra @ L’Auberge | October 16
There is no band out there that resonates with Baton Rouge as much as Better Than Ezra. Formed in the ‘90s, this alt-pop sensation started their climb to the top on the campus of LSU, and despite their great commercial success, their roots have remained deeply embedded in their home in the capital city.
Favorite Track: “Desperately Wanting”
Most Recent Release: All Together Now (2014)
Tracy Lawrence @ The Texas Club | November 20
One of country music’s most recognizable names and voices heads to the Texas Club with a compilation of hits. With 22 Billboard Top 10s, 18 No. 1s, and 13 million records sold, Tracy Lawrence needs no introduction. The voice behind “Paint Me a Birmingham” and “Find Out Who Your Friends Are” is the rare musician who appeals to multiple generations of listeners, with hits spanning three decades of radio play.
Favorite Track: “Texas Tornado”
Most Recent Release: Headlights, Taillights and Radios (2013)
The Menzingers @ Spanish Moon | November 1
Philadelphia’s The Menzingers were dubbed a “Band You Need To Know” in 2010 by Alternative Press by proving you don’t have to hail from California to perform punk rock. Currently, the band is at the fore front of a new breed of punk rock bands that combine a new energy and in-your-face attitude of their musical forefathers. In less than a decade the Menzingers have recorded and released four solid albums packed full of inspired gems adored by critics and have toured around the globe.
Favorite Track: “Gates”
Most Recent Release: Rented World (2014)
Aaron Neville @ L’Auberge | December 3 & 4
Nobody compares to the voice of Aaron Neville. The New Orleans crooner has a sound all his own, one he’s been blessing the ears of audiences worldwide with since the ‘60s. With four platinum records to his name, Neville is as decorated as any Louisiana musician there is, and his Christmas-time shows are a must-see to close out the fall season and get you ready for the long winter ahead.
Favorite Track: “Everybody Plays the Fool”
Most Recent Release: My True Story (2013)