shake what your mama gave you

I don’t know when I started listening to the North Mississippi Allstars, but I know why (my friend C told me to), and so when one of the many (many, MANY) emails I get about shows in Chicago said they were playing, I bought a ticket. My father used to tell me “you can take the girl out of the south, but you can’t take the south out of the girl.” I thought he was full of shit, but listening to the North Mississippi Allstars makes me rethink that opinion, that dirty bluesy sex-drenched racket that somehow brings up those frayed lawn chairs on my grandma’s carport on a too-hot day, sweet tea sweating in my hand and an ill-advised boy sprawled on the burning concrete.

So off I went to the Old Town School of Folk Music, where, once again, I decided that place drives me totally crazy. It is such a lovely room, and the sound is so fantastic, but fuck me I cannot handle sitting through a show like this one. It was just two of them, the guitarist/vocalist and the drummer, though sometimes they were joined by a mandolin player whose name I didn’t catch (sorry, mandolin player, you were fantastic!), and their opener, Alvin Youngblood Hart. At one point, the drummer was drumming, playing guitar, and singing. Well. Sometimes he drummed with giant red plastic baseball bats.

It was SO GOOD, but listen — this is a band that has like 27 songs about shaking your ass. And you want me to stay seated? RAWR. RAWR. I need to only go to shows at the Old Town School when they are sitting-down shows. Great Lake Swimmers, they are a sitting-down band. Possibly a bring-a-pillow band. I would totally see them at the Old Town School. I am going to see the Cowboy Junkies there in April, and I expect I will probably be sobbing too hard to stand up, at which point a seat will be appreciated.

Anyway. I have no pictures (again: RAWR), but go watch this video of them doing ‘Shake’ and then commiserate with me about the cruelties of the fates who kept me from shaking what my mama gave me. Then go see this band.


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