Carolina Chocolate Drops and L Shape Lot Duo, Wilmington, NC

Carolina Chocolate Drops perform at Brooklyn Arts Center in Wilmington, NC on 2/26/2014. Photo by Eric Rayburn Photography.

The Carolina Chocolate Drops brought a foot-stompin’ good time to the Brooklyn Arts Center in Wilmington, NC on Feb 26, 2014. A sold-out crowd braved cold and rain to pack the converted church for a night of old-time and bluegrass.

L Shape Lot Duo supports Carolina Chocolate Drops at Brooklyn Arts Center in Wilmington, NC on 2/26/2014. Photo by Eric Rayburn Photography.

The night began with a fantastic opening set from local Wilmington band L Shape Lot Duo. Comprised of Eric Miller and Alex Lanier, the duo is the acoustic half of the band L Shape Lot, a past winner of Floydfest’s On the Rise competition. Playing a blend of folk, bluegrass, rock and jam, the Duo’s set encompassed originals and familiar covers. Miller kept up a humorous stage banter asking the crowd at one point “How many of y’all have no idea who we are? Raise your hand!” A highlight of the set was a speedy and folksy cover of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall”.

Alex Lanier of L Shape Lot Duo supports Carolina Chocolate Drops at Brooklyn Arts Center in Wilmington, NC on 2/26/2014. Photo by Eric Rayburn Photography.

The Chocolate Drops played a single set lasting about and hour and a half. The show was a mix of songs from the 1800s to present day, blending old time spirituals, 20s vaudeville jazz and modern bluegrass. Led by Rhiannon Giddens, the quartet played a variety of instruments, including the primitive percussion of “bones”. Used by slaves when drums were taken away, the bones are similar in sound to spoons or castanets.

Rhiannon Giddens of Carolina Chocolate Drops performs at Brooklyn Arts Center in Wilmington, NC on 2/26/2014. Photo by Eric Rayburn Photography.

Giddens, whose powerful voice induced chills more than once throughout the evening, was not afraid to step back and let other members, including multi-instrumentalist Hubby Jenkins take over, showcasing vocals and instrumental chops a plenty.

Once of the most interesting touring groups out there right now, a show from this band is guaranteed to get your toes tappin’. And where else are you going to see a beautiful African-American woman from Greensboro, NC bust out a tremendous version of a traditional Scottish folk song IN GAELIC? The rest of the country has taken notice of this band from the North Carolina piedmont and you should as well.

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