Lovers Lane
In The Flesh

The Dr. is on

| June 7, 2012

As The Black Keys put their production hands on another artist, they manage to push him back in time. Slightly. Dr. John appears this weekend, as do Gospel Music.

To be a super Dr. John fan must be like having a second job or taking night classes. The New Orleans icon not only has a prolific catalog of originals, but a good dozen of his studio sets are like history lessons. Throw in his activism since Hurricane Katrina and his history as a session man before he adopted his psuedonym and became a cult hero — if the police were to discover your Dr. John outlay, they’d assume your plan was to kill him.

Dan Auerbach, of the aforementioned Black Keys, is such a superfan and joined him onstage at Bonnaroo 2011. For Dr. John’s latest album, Locked Down (Nonesuch), they go back to the late ’60s when Dr. John established his Night Tripper persona, and unleashed an idiosyncratic gush of NOLA blood that clearly reflected the city’s seedier side. While Locked Down doesn’t necessarily recreate Dr. John’s earliest four albums, they scratch at the surface murk before he spent a lot of time on old-timey regional forms. He claws at the mic in a Beefheart-ian rasp, swirls in the madness of East African jazz, and twists and turns Crescent City funk so that The Meters crawl out of the swamp wearing mismatched, Frankensteinian body parts. Study that! (Sunday@Ravinia with Iron & Wine.)

Kimya Dawson has been put on notice: Gospel Music‘s How To Get To Heaven From Jacksonville, Florida takes Juno‘s closing duet to its logical conclusion. Lo-fi duets have been en vogue since John and Exena, but this pair take to social awkwardness and romantic boneheadedness like table tennis in a Bucktown bar. “Apartment” provides sanctuary from disapproving friends, “I Shared Too Much With Her” makes Sebadoh’s “Rebound” sound like “Let’s Get It On,” and “Bedroom Farce” peels the layers of corduroy for a night spent self-loathing. (Monday@Schubas with Wintersleep.)

— Steve Forstneger

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Category: Stage Buzz, Weekly

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