All holidays in New Orleans naturally become extended parties, and no party is complete without the perfect soundtrack. Thankfully, we’ve got the music to go with the Christmas spirit, and it’s more than the usual, never ending Jingle Bells loop playing in department stores.
Here’s a list of some of the best and merriest shows happening this holiday season:
Anders Osborne’s 2nd Annual Holiday Spectacular “Rock My NOLA Soul”
12/6-12/7, Tipitinas, 10:00 PM
After the rousing success of last year’s Christmas jam, hometown guitar hero Anders Osborne has extended the party to a two night stand at Tipitina’s. Osborne’s recent release, Peace, is being called one of his best, and these special shows will showcase the new tunes, as well as some choice covers. Friday night focuses on Osborne’s rock side, with special guests Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi All Stars) and Billy Iuso, and Saturday features his soul side, with Irma Thomas and Cyril Neville joining in the fun. Tickets here.
Algiers Bonfire & Concert feat. The Soul Rebels and Amanda Shaw
12/7, Algiers Ferry Landing, 5:00-9:00 PM
One of the coolest Christmas traditions in the country, the bonfire on the levee, has turned into a full blown party to kick off the holiday season in NOLA. After a flyover from the Coast Guard, Amanda Shaw and the Cute Guys will get the party started with their Cajun infused folk rock. The Soul Rebels, fresh off a European tour, have recently been delivering some of the best brass shows I’ve ever seen, and this special show will be no exception. It all culminates in a second line leading up to the big lighting of the bonfire, meant to steer Santa in the right direction. The show is free and open to the public.
Le Petit Noel
12/7, Le Petit Theatre, 8 PM
NolaVie co-sponsors this jazz tribute to the holiday season in the newly restored historic Le Petit Theatre. Trumpeter Edward Anderson leads a seven-piece jazz band (also featuring NolaVie columnist and clarinetist extraordinaire Evan Christopher) in a holiday repertoire with a trio of popular New Orleans vocalists: Wanda Rouzan, Carmen Barika and Philip Manuel.
St. Louis Cathedral Concerts
Throughout December, St. Louis Cathedral, 6-70 PM
St. Louis Cathedral hosts a series of free concerts most nights in December leading up to Christmas, with great artists such as Jeremy Davenport, Amanda Shaw, and The Roots of Music filling the beautiful cathedral. Check out the full schedule to see who’s playing when, or just drop in when you need a warm break from the bustling holiday crowds of the French Quarter.
Aaron Neville Christmas
12/15, Civic Theatre, 8 PM
Aaron Neville will play a very special Christmas show at the elegant Civic Theatre. Expect some guests from the extended Neville family as Aaron sings some of the classic R&B songs from the Neville Brothers catalog and traditional Christmas tunes. Check out Aaron’s website for some free downloads off his most recent album, My True Story.
Home for the Holidays feat. Trombone Shorty & James Andrews plus John Boutte, Rebirth Brass Band, Kermit Ruffins & The BBQ Swingers, Shamar Allen & The Underdawgs, John Michael, and Eric Lindell Band
12/23, House of Blues, 7:30 PM
The biggest Christmas concert of the season is one of the last and features a lineup that reads like a list of New Orleans musical royalty. Where else will you see Rebirth, Trombone Shorty, John Michael, and Kermit Ruffins share the same stage? Trombone Shorty, in the midst of a national tour, continues to be THE New Orleans musical ambassador and will also hit the House of Blues on 12/21 for his own headlining show. Celebrating the family traditions that make the holidays so special, this show is one you won’t want to miss.