North Mississippi Allstars shake ’em on down in Vancouver

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photos by the Newt

By Steve Newton

Saw my first concert at the Rio Theatre last night, and I gotta say, I love that venue for live music.

The sound was great. And not only that, you can buy PBR in a can and walk around with it.

Mind you, it helps if the band you’re seeing is as conducive to blue-collar brew as the North Mississippi Allstars.

The NMA were touring behind their latest album, World Boogie is Coming, which pays tribute to the Mississippi hill-country blues artists they grew up with–awesome dudes like R.L. Burnside, Otha Turner, and Jr. Kimbrough.

So you had guitarist-vocalist Luther Dickinson, drummer-vocalist Cody Dickinson, and bassist-vocalist Lightnin’ Malcolm going to town on the type of hypnotic, git-yer-ass-up tuneage just made for a Friday night.

Highlights of the evening included when Cody pulled out an amplified washboard for some psychedelic scrapings, and when all three members grabbed drums of different sizes for a singalong on Turner’s “Granny, Does Your Dog Bite”.

Guitar freaks were no doubt entranced throughout by Luther’s off-the-cuff, fingerpicked mastery of his signature Gibson ES-335, which he utilized to fine effect on Bukka White’s “Shake ‘Em on Down”.

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The trio saved the best for last when Luther pulled out his two-string coffee-can guitar for a shit-kicker encore version of the traditional backwoods barnburner “Rollin & Tumblin”.

You bet your ass I’d drink muddy water and sleep in a hollow log to see them perform that number again. (Hopefully, whoever books the Burnaby Blues & Roots Festival might be reading this.)

Till then, this sweet-lookin’ poster will do to keep the memory warm.

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