Ashley Dean
File Mardi Gras under February holidays I like more than Valentine's Day.

Ritualistic drinking, delightfully tacky costumes, and New Orleans jazz trump chocolate and flowers any day. Just because Boulder is no where near New Orleans, and certainly nothing like it, doesn't mean we can't all get funky and throw beads around like dollar bills in a strip club (but let's keep it classy-ish).

Now, you can party just about anywhere, but it's an affront to everything New Orleans if you don't squeeze in some live music. Here are some Mardi Gras shindigs on our radar.

Mardi GRASS! A Fat Tuesday Celebration with WhiteWater Ramble
9 p.m., Tuesday at the Fox Theatre

We've got a full-on preview of this show for you, but it can't hurt to pop it into this list too. (Because what are you? Some sort of reading machine?) “High-octane Rocky Mountain DanceGrass” isn't exactly a New Orleans thing, but it's going to be good Mardi Gras fun nonetheless, complete with masks and beads.

Phat Tuesday with Proper Motion
4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Catacombs

If you're into the partying that comes with Mardi Gras, but prefer your music have less sax and more floor-rumbling bass, your best bet will be the Catacombs.

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The show is weirdly early, but when has the time ever stopped you before? Producer/DJ duo Noah Marion and Harry Watkins, better known as Proper Motion, will be pumping out the beats as the bar serves up Hurricanes and Hazed and Infused for $3. Yes, there will be beads.

The Zydecoasters
7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Oskar Blues Grill & Brew (Lyons) 

It don't get more New Orleans than zydeco. The ZydeCoasters are a Boulder band billed as a “great cajun slam jam band,” and zydeco is, well, hard to describe. It's based on cajun music, which incorporates French fiddle tunes and Latin rhythms, but it's distinct features are a touch of the blues and the accordion and washboard. Basically, a bunch of different musical styles got smushed together and made something strangely awesome (or strange and awesome). It'll be a good musical taste of New Orleans, to go with the actual taste of the city in the form of cochon de lait (whole roasted hog), king cake, hurricanes, jambalaya, gumbo, oysters on the half shell, BBQ, alligator, and Abita Amber beer.

Fat Tuesday Celebration with Jockamo
7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Oskar Blues Home Made Liquids & Solids (Longmont) 

Oskar Blues is really outdoing itself finding bands with pun-y names and descriptions. Jockamo plays what they call “bluesiana” music. It'll be a mix of blues, rock, R&B, and zydeco, and it will definitely make you want to dance. Oskar Blues also has a famous Lousiana-style menu.

The Krewe of Baloo 6th Annual Charity Ball & Parade
8 p.m. Saturday at the Gothic Theater

This one will be worth the trip to Denver. First of all, there's a parade featuring “Pink Elephants” and “The Voodoo Queen.” We're not sure what this means, but it sounds excellent, so don't think too much about it. The party continues at the Gothic Theater with blues-zydeco band Blue Krewe and a local burlesque production called Immundo Burlesque. Tickets are $15-$20 and the money goes to Radio 1190 and New Orleans Roots of Music. Bonus: It all goes down on Saturday, so you don't have to worry so much about a hangover.