Alison Fensterstock

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    Mystikal Returns Home to New Orleans

    Throwing a show in one of New Orleans' biggest theatres, the 2100-capacity Municipal Auditorium, on Mardi Gras night -- after the entire city has spent the day downing bloody marys and beers -- is a dicey venture. That is, unless the city is celebrating the homecoming of its once and possibly future great hip-hop hope: Mystikal, the former No Limit and Jive Records recording artist who completed a six-year jail sentence less than two weeks ago. The night's lineup was old-school and hometown, and read like a yearbook of 90's New Orleans rap.

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    Lil Wayne Drops Pre-Jailhouse Rock in New Orleans

    Wearing a red and black "Dollar Bills" hat, pristine red Chuck Taylors, and an ear-to-ear grin, Lil Wayne took the stage Monday night at his hometown New Orleans Arena, and bowed deeply from the waist. The smile, that stoner giggle that punctuates so many of his tracks, is a trademark for him at this point, and his obvious glee is a huge, if secondary, part of his appeal. He loves this business, and loves being onstage even more, scrambling and bounding around the stage, climbing anything there is to climb -- like Tigger on crank. That glee stood in stark contrast to Weezy's current streak of ill fate. Early reactions to his upcoming and much-delayed rock crossover album Rebirth have been violently mixed, and the album was leaked, reportedly by a mistake at Amazon.com.

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    Eminem's Rare Gig Wows Voodoo

    Friday night at New Orleans' Voodoo Music Experience, even chilly temps and torrents of rain couldn't keep the soggy pre-Halloween crowd – sexy nurses caked in mud, shivering bunnies and cops – from sticking around for Eminem's 9:30 PM closing set. This was, after all, the rapper's only public gig promoting his latest album, Relapse, and his ghoulish rhymes and ominous storylines were a perfect fit for the dampened holiday mood. A video montage that kicked off Em's set cast him in the role of murderous psychopath, starting with text that described him as a criminally insane lunatic on the loose, "last seen in the woods near New Orleans in October." This dissolved into quick-cut images of gory body parts and handheld footage of the rapper running, Blair Witch-style, shirtless through the woods.

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    Best and Worst from the Voodoo Experience

    Friday: Worst Supernatural Powers: Alejandro EscovedoHe's been through a lot in the course of a 30-year career, from opening for the Sex Pistols (with the Nuns) to triumphing over hepatitis C. On the opening day of Voodoo, his set was positively blistering, as he led a black-clad band through a fierce hour of True Believers, Rank and File and solo alt-country-punk volleys of fire. The afternoon was warm, sunny and humid till he tore into "Castanets" – a cold wind sliced through the crowd as he started the closer, Bowie's "All The Young Dudes." As soon as the (other) man in black was gone, the sky turned black and cold pellets of rain started to hammer the crowd.

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