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Southern Fried Coolness

Easily the most badass thing I've seen at this year's FRF was the washboard solo during North Mississippi Allstars gig at Field Of Heaven by Cody Dickinson.

About 40 minutes into the trio's gig he stepped out from behind his drum kit and walked to centre stage. A roadie ran out and gave him a washboard. His brother, guitarist Luther Dickinson, and bassist Chris Chew sat back and watched as he proceeded to play the washboard by itself then with a few of the guitar effects petals, adding a really cool electronic side to his solo. Now that alone is pretty cool in my book. Cody thought he could make his performance even more memorable by taking the washboard off and throwing it on the ground as his solo faded out in faux punk rock fashion. Classic!

Jamming their way through a tight set of traditional southern rock and blues, the band had little trouble keeping the medium-sized crowd of dancing bodies assembled at Heaven satisfied. The mirrorballs hanging throughout the area cast small, moving circles of light all over the stage, audience, and surrounding trees, adding a slight psychedelic edge to their music. The son of a long-time Memphis producer, you could sense the southern rock in the blood of Luther Dickinson as he passionately belts out his lyrics. A definite showman, he exhibited an extraordinary array of rock n' roll facial expressions while playing his instrument and changed guitars prior to starting each song.

Although not as flashy, Chew was just as solid. A massive man, he played the role of gentle giant as he slowly swayed to the infectious rock sounds and joined in occasionally on backup vocals. The anchor of the group, he got the crowd involved by encouraging, or possibly intimidating based on size, everyone to clap along and wave their hands in the air.

With an undeniable amount of musical talent on full display, it was easy to appreciate what North Mississippi Allstars were doing. Regardless of whether your a fan of a certain musical style, when a band puts on an "all-star" caliber concert they will always win over even the smallest of music fans.