North Mississippi Allstars 11.13.11

Aggie Theatre
Fort Collins, CO

Words, Photo & Video By Nicholas Stock

With some dear friends that we met in Telluride for Phish, it was time for a classic get down in Fort Collins. Ryan and Kelly came to town all the way from California for some sweet hill country music. We met up in the afternoon, and after a nice tour of the Budweiser brewery, we headed downtown for the North Mississippi Allstars. We arrived at The Aggie moments too late to check out Buffalo Killers, but we had plenty of time to see local group Musketeer Gripweed. I had been hearing about these guys for quite some time but seeing their opening performance was something I was totally unprepared for...

Seeing Musketeer Gripweed was like watching the fuse of a firecracker running towards ignition. Studying Jason Downing orchestrate his band through a series of musical high jumps was truly a mesmerizing feat. From start to end, they exuded pure energy in a way that is rarely possible when seeing local bands. Musketeer has been making splashes on the Front Range, but the power they brought to their live performance was something that I couldn’t possibly be ready for. Ripping through bluesy, rock-infused territory, they brought the house down. Stu Clark worked the rhythm as the rest of the band toiled relentlessly to keep up with Jason’s energy. He ran around stage like a man possessed by the music, jumping on chairs and ripping though the set. Here is the tape from Corey and Kind Recordings:

Musketeer Gripweed Live at Aggie Theatre on November 13, 2011.

I was enamored with the whole performance. I’ve seen so many bands and it takes a lot to get me shaking my ass, but Musketeer Gripweed certainly had me dancing. Between the keys of Ben Hockett and the lead guitar of Ehren Crumpler, this ensemble has all the tools to go very far in the scene. And not to mention the positivity that Jason radiates through the audience was something to behold. They were the perfect choice to open for the North Mississippi Allstars.

The North Mississippi Allstars have been a staple on my music plate going way back. I had the opportunity to see them in college playing to a small crowd when they still had a Burnside in the lineup. Their brand of gritty blues is something everyone should dip their spoon into. They played an incredible show at The Aggie on Sunday after their soon-to-be-famed Denver run. Here is the setlist from Kind Recordings:

SET I: Goin’ Down South, Shake (What Yo Mama Gave Ya), New Orleans Walkin’ Dead, Everything I Do Is Gonna Be Funky, Shake ‘Em On Down, Bang Bang Lulu, Mean Ol’ Wind Died Down, ML (Goin’ Home), Jumper Cable Blues, Meet Me In The City, Boogie > Po Black Maddie > Skinny Women > Drums/Washboard Solo > Ho Down, Let It Roll, The Meeting, Freedom Highway> Never In All My Days, K.C. Jones (On The Road Again), Sugartown, Rollin’ & Tumblin’

ENCORE: I’d Love To Be A Hippy, Write Me A Few Lines > Drop Down Mama > Someday Baby, Snake Dr.

North Mississippi Allstars Live at Aggie Theatre on November 13, 2011.

The show was not ridiculously packed which may have been expected given the fact that it was on a Sunday. NMA killed it; the combination of Luther’s guitar, Chris Chew’s bass, and Cody’s drums makes them one of the most incredible power trios playing live today. They have a sound that invigorates the soul. These guys are born and bred in a genre of music that is neglected like a lost child wandering around a crowded mall. Hill Country music is a mix of blues, slide, and experience. So much history from the juke joints and the older players works its ways into the sound of NMA that watching them play is like getting a potent chronicling of times gone by. Highlights from the set were disgusting versions of “Shake” and “Po Black Maddie”. It’s truly a sight to behold when these guys are shredding before your eyes. Cody is calm and collected as Chew just breaks down the bass giving Luther room to soar. He has often commented that his he loves playing with new people, but it is obvious that he is most comfortable playing with his brother and dear friend. He has so much skill on guitar that he almost seems to be in a harmonious trance as he is quite plainly melting faces. The show was incredible and reinvigorated my love for North Mississippi. They’ve been playing in the scene since the time that I got involved with jam, and they continue to tour relentlessly and impress people across the country.

They came back with a ridiculous five-song encore. The most remarkable of which was the straight snapping “Write Me A Few Lines” into “Drop Down Mama”. I’m glad I made it out on a school night to see NMA as it has been a number of years since our last rendezvous. They continue to be an incredible force in jam and play a brand of music that is rarely experienced live anymore.

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  1. Rumor has it that after the show, Luther jumped in the studio and laid down some slide work on Musketeer Gripweed's upcoming album.

  2. Can you contact us about helping w/ the new CD?


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