Next Tuesday, Feb. 21, is Fat Tuesday -- the true Mardi Gras, if you're feeling très Français -- and San Francisco will be marking the big day with events to get people up and on their feet. Most will show not only a traditional nod to the music of New Orleans, but also how it has deeply influenced local musicians who've incorporated the city's unique sound and character into their own sonic gumbo.
Fat Tuesday in the Fillmore has a free concert with Bobbie Webb & Smooth Blues Band in Fillmore Plaza from 5-7 p.m., the kick-off to an evening that finds the Jaz Sawyer Mardi Gras Party at Yoshi's and a smattering of bands to accompany the food and drink specials at restaurants in the Fillmore Corridor, such as Sheba Piano Lounge (Adrian Costa Blues Band), and Gussies Chicken and Waffles (Know Jazz).The also gloriously free Celebrate Mardi Gras Parade gathers outside Hayes Valley bar Place Pigalle at 5 p.m., where you can join the second line and dance down the streets of San Francisco behind natives Jazz Mafia and Monophonics as well as members of Oakland's Extra Action Marching Band. (It might be too cold for semi-nakedness from Extra Action, but you never know.) The march will funk its way down to Brick & Mortar Music Hall for an 8 p.m. performance by Jazz Mafia and Monophonics, this with a $10-$13 cover. The full Extra Action Marching Band convenes at Mezzanine for the 16th annual San Francisco Mardi Gras Ball alongside Zigaboo Modeliste and the New Ahhkestra featuring Skerik. Drummer (and Oakland resident) Modeliste founded the seminal New Orleans funk band the Meters, and recently collaborated on "A La Modeliste" for Hyundai's Re:Generation music project with Mark Ronson, Erykah Badu, Trombone Shorty, members of the Dap-Kings, and Mos Def. For years, his rhythmic innovations have been swiped and sampled in hip-hop and dozens of dance music microgenres, yet he's still keeping ahead of time. And he'll be just one of the many entertainments offered in S.F. this Mardi Gras.