Aftermath: Dr. John at House of Blues
|Photos by Mark C. Austin|
It must be getting close to Mardi Gras, because Aftermath swore he could smell gumbo during Dr. John and the Lower 911's roux-thick mambo "Goin' Back to New Orleans" Thursday night. (Either that or he really needs to eat more.) Too bad more people didn't feel the same way.
A good half the crowd seemed content to stand there passively, not even nodding their heads, or - here we go again - found their own conversations more interesting than the good doctor's gris-gris. Kudos, then, to the few couples who put the wings of the three-quarter-full House of Blues to their proper use: dancing the night away. Could have used a few more like you.
Eventually the 911 Unit made its way through about every style of Southern music imaginable: stinging Texas guitar blues, deep-friend Stax-y soul, Meters-like bayou funk and, naturally, homages to the great Crescent City piano players Allen Toussaint, Professor Longhair and Fats Domino. Not limiting themselves below the Mason-Dixon line, they also took side trips to the Caribbean and "Across 110th Street," and "Right Place, Wrong Time" could have been either primitive rock and roll or early-'70s Motown - Little Richard's "Good Golly Miss Molly" or Edwin Starr's "War," it was hard to tell which. Maybe both.
That said, at times the band stretched it out a little too much, and Aftermath's mind started to wander (generally toward his stomach). But they always brought it back home eventually, and Cukor's primo Coasters solo on the Mardi Gras finale - it's killing me I can't remember the name, but it's a piano lick as recognizable as Saint Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square - even inspired a few people to break out their white hankerchiefs and wave them around like good little second-liners.
"The Nevilles gon' hurtcha," Dr. John said by way of farewell. No doubt they did, but his appetite for New Orleans' musical gumbo sufficiently sated, Aftermath set off into the night in search of the kind of gumbo he could actually swallow.