New Orleans prides itself on offering an unparalleled selection of live music every night of the week, due in large part to the multitude of living legends who continue to earn their keep gigging around town. However, the lesser-known artists who compete for crowds on a nightly basis face numerous challenges breaking into the city’s music market.
Realizing the challenges facing young, emerging artists, Reeves Price created This is NOLA, a “monthly series showcasing contemporary New Orleans culture.” The series premiered this past October and has already developed a reputation as one of the premier arts and culture events in the city. In addition to music, the events feature local visual artists, food trucks and mixologists who come together to show off facets of up-and-coming arts scenes in New Orleans.
The eclectic musical lineups have included some of the best rising bands in the city. The first installment featured Hurray for the Riff Raff, who are wrapping up a huge year that included a performance on Conan and a spot on NPR’s lists of the year’s best music.
This month’s event arguably boasts the strongest lineup to date, with Sweet Crude, Boyfriend, TYSSON and DJ Quickie Mart all set to take the big stage. “I’ve been selecting artists who have already started building a name for themselves and just need the right platform to get them to the next level,” says Reeves.
Hand selecting the bands that get to rock the big stage of The Joy has given these artists the chance to command the space, showing off all of their best moves.
The visual arts featured at the events are an integral part of the series as well.
“We really want to use the art to give the room a unique feel that creates an interactive experience,” says Reeves.
Brent Houzenga, a local artist whose “car art” has been popping up around town for the past two years, will showcase his work at this week’s event. Part pop art, part street art, Houzenga’s unique style adds yet another exciting layer to the art featured at This is NOLA.
And since it’s not a party in New Orleans without food and libations, there will be plenty of both on hand, with a handful of young chefs and mixologists at the event showing off their skills. Diva Dawg will serve up its signature dishes, such as the Red Bean Chili Dog and Etouffee Fries, while John Tew of Burgers Ya Heard will sling out Pho Burgers and other dangerously delicious and unique concoctions. As for the cocktails, Reeves has been actively recruiting local mixologists from the NOLA’s cocktail environment to put some new twists on classic drinks (last month’s cocktails included spicy Mexican cola and beer syrup).
The show on Friday, December 12 is free, but attendees are encouraged to RSVP here. Admission will be on a first come, first serve basis, so plan to get there early. VIP admission can be purchased for $15 and includes line skipping privileges, guaranteed entry and one craft cocktail. Showtime is 8:00 p.m.. For more info visit ThisIsNOLA.org
Here’s a rundown and video playlist of the bands playing this Friday:
*Correction: An earlier version of this article cited Tank and the Bangas as being one of the bands playing at This is NOLA on Friday. Tank and the Bangas will not be performing at This is NOLA on December 12.