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NOLA supergroup Dragon Smoke keep surprising

DragondSmokeBy Josh Herwitt //

Dragon Smoke featuring Ivan Neville, Stanton Moore, Eric Lindell & Robert Mercurio //
The Mint – Los Angeles
December 4th, 2013 //

There’s an old adage that “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” Well, these days, where there’s Dragon Smoke, there’s also fire — but in a good way.

That’s just a testament to the kind of energy the New Orleans supergroup brings every night it hits the stage. Of course, whenever you put four All-Star musicians in the same room, good things can often happen.

Yet, it still takes chemistry to make a band click on all cylinders, and Dragon Smoke certainly has that with Ivan Neville, Eric Lindell, Stanton Moore and Robert Mercurio on board.

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For one, you won’t find a much better rhythm section in the music business than Moore and Mercurio, who are best known for their work with New Orleans funk outfit Galactic. Moore, after all, has become one of the most sought-after drummers over the last decade. With a burgeoning solo career that has led to playing in other supergroups like Garage A Trois and Street Sweeper Social Club, it’s hard to fathom how he has found the time for another side project. Mercurio and his bass, meanwhile, know how to stay plenty busy as well.

So, when you add Neville’s impeccable dexterity on the keys and Lindell’s tasty guitar licks to the mix, you’ve got quite the four-piece on your hands. And that’s without mentioning that Neville and Lindell can both hit the high notes when it’s time to take the mic.

After catching last year’s show at The Mint, Showbams returned to the diminutive jazz club in LA on Wednesday to see what exactly the quartet had in store this time around.

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Playing two sets that predictably extended past the three-hour mark, Dragon Smoke cooked up a mean batch of gumbo and followed that up with a healthy helping of jambalaya. There were covers of Bill Withers (“Grandma’s Hands”), BLACKstreet (“No Diggity”) and even some old school War (“Slippin’ into Darkness”).

But one of the biggest surprises of the night — and a pleasant one at that — was the band’s rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide”, serving as another piece of evidence that at any point in time, Dragon Smoke is more than capable of taking someone else’s song and making it entirely its own.

If the packed crowd was any indication of what Dragon Smoke has become in the last 10 years, you can bet that these four horsemen will be touring again sometime next year.

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  1. […] Dragon Smoke bring the fire, in a good way, at The Mint 12/4 […]

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