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Sunday, March 21, 2010

North Mississippi Allstars 3/11/10 at The Bottleneck, Lawrence KS

The all-encompassing hybrid music of the North Mississippi All Stars is good bet for today's roots music connoisseurs: one part Southern blues band, one part jam band trio, the rest rock-n-roll kids just having fun. Imagine if the Jelly Roll Kings with Junior Kimbrough strung together their favorite songs into one complete barrage; that's what you get with NMA. The multifunctional band appearing at The Bottleneck in downtown Lawrence KS on March 11 featured lead guitarist and singer Luther Dickinson (who also gigs with the Black Crowes); bassist/vocalist Chris "Big Cheese" Chew; Luther's brother, drummer and washboard player Cody Dickinson.

Entering the stage to the theme song from Sanford & Son, the plaid work-shirted Luther Dickinson began the night authentically enough by running through a series of R.L. Burnside-inspired tunes on slide guitar. Early on Dickinson implored the audience to "shake what yo' mama gave you" and many happily obliged. Next up was the bluesy "I'd Love to Be a Hippy," from the NMA release Hernando featuring the rich vocals of Mr. Chew. About midpoint through the show, just after the drum solo, members of opening act Hill Country Revue hopped onstage for some jamming. "Shake Em On Down" spotlighted the singing of tattooed (and apparent Lucero fan) Hill Country Revue vocalist Daniel Coburn. During the later portion of the set, Luther got behind the drum kit for a spin on the sticks while Cody emerged to strum the washboard. The noticeable thing this night was how NMA looked to be thoroughly enjoying themselves, almost like it wasn't just another Thursday night in the heartland. So much fun was had that Luther Dickinson at one point gave a holler and said, "Man, I feel like cussing," and proceeded to do just that.

The Bottleneck is non-smoking club in downtown Lawrence home to some of the best live music anywhere and features a sizable wooden dance floor plus two sections of flat board bleachers for convenient viewing or standing.

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