Carolina Chocolate Drops at DMBC
ATLANTIC CITY — At about 2:30, the Carolina Chocolate Drops took the Boardwalk stage.
Lead singer Rhiannon Giddens spoke to the crowd (who got the band to come back for an encore at the close of its set), getting them to sing along for a few songs. She played a dynamic fiddle. The band played a new tune — their latest album is Genuine Negro Jig, produced by Joe Henry — and it fit right in with their terrific set of old-timey sounding songs, New Orleans tunes, and other Americana roots and early blues music.
Possibly the only time we’ll hear a kazoo being played at the festival. And a bass played only using vocals (throat singing, courtesy of Dom Flemons).
The band also brought out harmonica, mandolin, pan pipes, a trumpet mouth-piece (it sounded like), foot percussion, and sometimes gritty, sometimes gorgeous harmonies.
The crowd went absolutely crazy for the Carolina Chocolate Drops, proving that the band’s old-time sound is as hot as its been in a long time, with other string-centric, old folk, bluegrass and Appalachia sounding bands (such as Mumford & Sons, the Avett Brothers, Old Crow Medicine Show) doing very well not only at music festivals, but also on the charts and even getting noticed by the Grammy folks…feels like 2000-2001, when the Coen Brothers’ film O Brother Where Art Thou — and the Grammy-winning (Album of the Year, 2001) — brought old-time, traditional bluegrass and American folk music back into the mainstream again.
By the time their set closed at 3:15, the Pacific stage was already bursting with the sounds of gray-haired power trio TR3, who started its set with a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir.”
This place is massive. It’s hard to tell how many people are here. I’m going to step away from the machine and take in a bit of the festival, look for the Chocolate Drops — or maybe a CD.
Check back soon. And all day here for photo and Twitter updates.
FYI: The Dave Matthews Band is slated to play for three hours Sunday night. Later today, the Flaming Lips will play Pink Floyd’sThe Dark Side of the Moon.