The duo of Luther and Cody Dickinson, better known as The North Mississippi Allstars, brought their style of Mississippi boogie to the intimate NYC venue Irving Plaza last Wednesday night. While the show wasn't a sold out affair, the band still brought out the loyal fans and treated us to a night of rollicking songs and down-home country entertainment. Opening for the Allstars was the duo of Lightnin' Malcolm on guitar and his drummer, simply named Stud.
I got to the venue in time to catch the opening act because I had heard positive words about them and was told they were worth checking out. For about 45 minutes Mississippi based guitar slinger Lightnin' Malcolm and Stud (who we were informed is T Model Ford's grandson) rocked the house with songs varying from stomping hill country blues, soul, rock, country, and a touch of reggae.
Lightnin' mostly let his fuzzed out guitar do the talking and hypnotized us with dirty solos and catchy licks. During one song Stud was able to show off his skills with a spectacular drum solo. The crowd was definitely into the set and showed their approval with a strong applause when they were done.
After about a half hour break the room was packed and buzzing while waiting for the North Mississippi Allstars to hit the stage. Grammy winning slide master Luther Dickinson took to the stage to a cheering crowd and proceeded to get the crowd moving its feet to a boogie number. Joining Luther on stage was opening act Lightnin' Malcolm on bass. Flowing into the next song was the heavily covered folk-blues number "Sittin On Top Of The World." The room's energy was on high alert as the band segued into a song titled "Turn Up Satan." I was hoping to hear them perform their older stuff and I was not let down when Luther dug back into the band's repertoire and played "Shake Em On Down", a song from their first album Shake Hands With Shorty.
Luther's energy was clearly visible as he walked across the stage at times and often posed while fans took pictures. He had a smile on his face that never went away as he continued to get us moving and shaking. Another often covered blues classic, "Rollin' & Tumblin'", was next before Luther and Lightnin' stepped it up a notch with the song "Shake (Yo Mama)." They used this opportunity to flow into a heavy instrumental jam that I believe was called "Lord Have Mercy." Lightnin' Malcolm switched to guitar for this number and took the opportunity to melt us with his guitar playing.
The night got really rocking when Cody took to the stage to dazzle us with his washboard skills. If you've ever seen him live do this, you know that he makes it look easy. While scratching on the instrument Cody began singing the lyrics for "Back Back Train." Afterwards Luther took to the spotlight to start a slow tune that gained momentum as it progressed. It was an instrumental jam titled "Arks Burka." Following this was another Allstars classic called "Po Black Maddie." Hearing the studio version of this song does it no justice as seeing it live. The band started out the song as a boogie, then brought it into a tasty blues jam, and finally back into a boogie. The crowd never missed a beat as people around me were bopping their heads and shuffling their feet. Cody assumed the guitar responsibilities on the next song while Luther strapped on an over the shoulder bass drum for the next number.
A few songs later all the members on stage turned the show into a drum jam with Cody sporting a Mardi Gras like mask. At this point the atmosphere felt less like a concert and more like a festival as the band proceeded to get off stage and walk through the crowd while banging on the percussion instruments. The crowd used this opportunity to take some up close and personal shots and even dance alongside a band member. After a VERY short break the band came out for a five song encore that ended with an energized version of "All Night Long" that had us all clapping our hands and dancing along to the beats. Sadly the time had come for the band to exit the stage and continue on with their tour, but not before leaving to a very loud applause and people hollering positive feedback.
The North Mississippi Allstars are on tour in support of their new album World Boogie Is Coming. You can check out the band's latest music, news, and tour dates by going on their Zumic artist page.
Below is a Youtube video clip of the opening song by the North Mississippi Allstars as well as an unofficial setlist and a live recording of the show from Scott Bernstein (twitter = @scott_bernstein)
North Mississippi Allstars 9.11.2013 Setlist at Irving Plaza, NYC: