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Dr. John & The Lower 9-11 Band

Mike Perciaccante By

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Dr. John was clearly in control as he joked with the crowd, played a fabulous piano and danced his way through a diverse group of songs...
The Downtown
Farmingdale, Long Island
October 24, 2003

Mac Rebennack, more commonly known as Dr. John, The Night Tripper and his band Lower 9-11 (pronounced "nine, eleven"), which features guitarist Reynard Poché, bassist David Barard and drummer/Master of Ceremonies Herman "Roscoe" Ernest III brought their patented version of swamp pop/blues/gospel/jazz/R & B/funk (Dr. John likes to pronounce is as "fonk")/rock to Long Island on this warm fall evening. The good Dr., touring behing his latest release All By Hisself, a solo live piano recording (for his newly formed Skinji Brim label) taped during a Chrtstmas 1986 stop at the NYC's legendary Lonestar was clearly in top form.

As usual the first set began with an old time instrumental intro theme during which Dr. John ascended to the stage. This spectacle almost made Farmingdale's Downtown seem like a Mississippi Delta juke on a Friday night in the late 50's. Dr. John's show is steeped in his background. His pedigree is a deep roots musical gumbo of New Orleans, the Crescent City — part African, part American-Indian with Creole influences mixed -in with quite a few equally exotic voodoo rhythms to boot.

The first set (which is always the weaker of the two — if you would label something that was wonderfully brilliant as being weak) featured the old favorites that the casual fan would expect and want: "Iko, Iko," "On A Mardi Gras Day" and "More Than You Know," "Walk on Guilded Splinters" and "Right Place, Wrong Time." Back in New Orleans, we called this the "Tourist's Show." This set alone would make for a fantastic, yet short concert.

After a brief 45 minute intermission, during which the Dr., myself and his band retired to the downstairs lounge for a pizza and buffalo wings buffet, Dr. John was ready to rock. As he described it, "...and now it's time for the good stuff!" Set two was fabulous, though short. It featured Dr. John and the band playing a looser and more enjoyable set (for both the band and the audience — many of whom stayed for both shows). This performance featured as psychedelic swamp jam that not only got the band jumping, but had the audience dancing in the aisles. Also included were: "How Come My Dog Don't Bark (When You Come Around)," Though not as commercially accessible as the "Tourist's Show."

Dr. John was clearly in control as he joked with the crowd, played a fabulous piano and danced his way through a diverse group of songs that included "Makin' Whoopee," "Such A Night" and "Big Chief," a few Doc Pomus selections, as well as selections from each and every juncture of his long career. Weaving everything from his musical tapestry is quite a difficult feat. There is so much. Though no Dr. John show can ever completely cover the breath of his career, he audience was treated to Mardi Gras favorites, classic jazz and blues tunes and Dr. John originals.

By playing two diverse sets featuring a number of wonderful songs from Gris-Gris, Duke Elegant, Dr. John Plays Mac Rebennack, Anutha Zone, Creole Moon and many other classic albums, Dr. John and the Lower 9-11 delighted the adoring crowd and for one night, The Downtown in Farmingdale, New York was as hot and sweaty as old New Orleans. Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!


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