Friday, March 23, 2007

An Acoustic Evening With The All Stars

North Mississippi All Stars (Acoustic) -- The Birchmere -- Alexandria, VA -- March 22, 2007

The Birchmere concert hall in Alexandria, VA was the perfect venue for the opening night of the North Mississippi All Stars almost acoustic tour. One of a small number of fully seated venues in the area, patrons watch the show from waitress-serviced tables that edge right up to the stage. It makes for a very intimate setting despite the 500-capacity room. On this night, NMAS were loose, laid-back, and ready to not only play their southern-tinged psychedelic blues/rock, but also tell stories, converse with each other, and interact directly with the quiet, attentive crowd.

Luther Dickinson, clearly the leader of this band, played both acoustic and electric guitar throughout the night, finger-picking and sliding in his signature style. Bassist Chris Chew, playing comfortably seated, provided a solid backbone to Luther's leads, with his electric bass and soulful vocals. Highly underrated and virtuosic brother of Luther, Cody, started off complimenting his sibling on his own acoustic guitar, but then showed off his diverse talents by moving on to grand piano for a set of tunes, and then to his drum set for the final portion of the show. Cody's movement between instruments served to divide the show into three segments that each had their own unique feel. It was in the classic configuration of guitar/bass/drums that the band really brought the energy of their typical concert. Each segment was excellent, but it was in the final set of songs that we were all reminded of why this band receives the praise it does from fans all over the country.

The setlist chosen by the group ranged from blues and folk classics to R&B covers to band originals. The All Stars were in high spirits throughout the night, clearly enjoying the atypical format that they'd chosen to perform in. Whereas we were all fans of the band's music before the night started, we left with an appreciation for the boys, not just as talented musicians. but also as three guys who really enjoy making music with each other.

One of the highlights of the concert was the Chris Chew-led cover of the Otis Redding classic, 'Dock of the Bay'. This short video clip of that song, captured last night, will give you a taste of what we all were lucky enough to witness up close and personal. [video courtesy of Charles Ton]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

beautiful man. well written.