While some tourists worry that the 'real' New Orleans music-scene is made up of only never-ending jazz venues, in reality, the musical city’s voice and beat manifest in a staggeringly diverse set of genres. Indeed, New Orleans would not be the birthplace of jazz if it had not blended the other musical traditions that already had deep roots here.
Many people seem to think that jazz is moody music played with brass instruments. But in New Orleans, 'brass' is a genre in and of itself, a rocking, danceable sound that is definitely not what you listen to while reading Albert Camus in a coffee shop. New Orleans brass is dynamic; older bands may sound like the Dixieland-style Big Band orchestras from the early 20th century, while younger bands frequently blend in hip hop and R&B.
If you intend to stay in the French Quarter, check out One-Eyed Jacks, consistently one of the best rock music venues in the American South. Local and international talent regularly take the stage, and it also hosts a fantastic regular burlesque revue. Walk 10 minutes from Bourbon Street towards Frenchmen Street (arguably the best place in the world to listen to jazz music) and you will find the Dragon’s Den, which usually looks (and sounds) like the set of a Metallica video. The Den always has a crazy line-up, and regularly hosts all styles of metal and dubstep nights. Just across the street is Maison, where the jazz line up is supplemented by plenty of local dance DJs and indie rock talent. Nearby, d.b.a serves up some of the most diverse musical offerings in town and has a great beer menu to boot.
For a unique New Orleans evening, head to Club Fusion on AP Tureaud Avenue to hear bounce – a New Orleans-born style of dance music that mixes hip-hop, call-and-response and a high dose of synchronized dancing.
Do not forget large venues like Tipitina’s (go to the Uptown location, not the more touristy version in the French Quarter), a New Orleans classic hotspot, and of course, the Rock ‘N’ Bowl, where you can get in some time on the lanes before catching regular zydeco shows, rock, rap and yes, jazz – because seriously, do not come to New Orleans without hearing some jazz.