Carolina Chocolate Drops
SXSW showcase reviews
Reviewed by Melanie Haupt, Fri., March 19, 2010
Carolina Chocolate DropsVictorian Room at the Driskill, Friday, March 19
Durham, North Carolina's roots-music buzz band took the stage to a capacity room on Friday night, leading off with the rollicking "Don't Get Trouble in Your Mind." Bowler-hatted Dom Flemons stomped his feet and buzzed into a ceramic jug as fiddler Justin Robinson sang with Rhiannon Giddens on banjo. Flemons then took the lead with "Old Corn Liquor," a fiddle-based square dance the trio learned from Joe Thompson, a 91-year-old fiddler from their neck of the woods. The band, whose repertoire is gleaned from many American roots traditions, provided a story or historical context behind each song, engaging the already-adoring audience before launching into each successive jig. Giddens ruled the stage with the trio's popular cover of Blu Cantrell's "Hit 'Em Up Style." "This is a classic revenge song," said Giddens. Many women in the room cheered; "I can tell there are lots of stories in this room!" Most striking about this set, apart from the players' sheer joy, is the three-dimensionality of the music, from the slobbery timekeeping of the ceramic jug to the strains of the fiddle, guitar, and banjo.