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Concert Preview: Rock On Foundation's Alt-Star Party feat with The Walkmen

The NBA’s All Star Game comes to town this weekend, bringing with it the sort of after-parties and concerts that usually follow big sporting events (like the Super Bowl last year).  The game itself features some top-tier artists, with a halftime show that includes Dr. John, Trombone Shorty, Gary Clark Jr., and Janelle Monae. And thanks to some act of the musical justice gods, Kendrick Lamar (who got robbed of a Grammy for his remarkable album “good kid, m.A.A.d. city”) will perform on national television before the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest on Saturday.  Also announced today was the unexpected but welcome news that Snoop Dogg will be in town to play a midnight show after the game.

Walkmen: Alt Star at One Eyed Jacks

Walkmen: Alt Star headliners at One Eyed Jacks

Despite the quality of these big names, the show of the weekend will undoubtedly be when The Walkmen take the stage at One Eyed Jack’s for the Rock On Foundation’s “Alt-Star Party.”  One of the best bands of the past decade, The Walkmen announced in November that they were suddenly and mysteriously going on an “extreme hiatus” with no plans to record or tour in the future.  But when the call from the Rock On Foundation came, the New York band couldn’t refuse.

“We thought it make take a lifetime to get us back together -- til the Alt-Star Party gave us the nod.  How could we stay on the bench?” says Walkmen frontman Hamilton Leithhauser.

San Antonio Spur Matt Bonner founded Rock On with his brother, Luke, in 2013, with the aim of “encouraging people to rock the things they love -- whether that’s sports, arts or academics.”  The foundation’s past projects include providing financial aid to underprivileged youth interested in art and music, renovating public basketball courts, helping at-risk youth attend life skills basketball camps, and many more.  Bonner looks forward to another high profile event, with proceeds benefitting both Rock On and NOLA’s own Roots of Music Foundation.

“I’ve been wanting to be cool enough to host my own party during All-Star weekend for as long as I can remember, but I keep getting snubbed from the All-Star team.  I’m not going to let that stop me this year,” says Bonner.

The event will truly be a showcase for some of the best names in alternative rock.  The show will feature Cajun rockers Lost Bayou Ramblers, whose upbeat and infectious tunes will connect the bayou to Brooklyn, as well as a rare DJ set from Vampire Weekend’s Chris Thomson.  There’s also a rumor going around that Win Butler, from Arcade Fire, will make an appearance, which doesn’t seem unlikely given Butler’s avid basketball fandom and his band’s headlining slot at Jazz Fest this year.

Due to the excessive crowds in the Quarter this weekend, we recommend picking up tickets beforehand here.

Here's a glimpse of what you can expect from the Walkmen:

Shane Colman writes about music for NolaVie. Email him at [email protected] Follow him on [email protected] and on Instagram at shawncoolman.