sound check

By Michael Swanger

Mondo Drag
“New Rituals”
Alive Natural Sound

Opening Mondo Drag’s new CD, “New Rituals,” is like opening a time capsule from the classic rock vaults of the late 1960s and early 1970s. From the artwork to the music, so psychedelic and grungy is this Davenport band’s garage rock that you can almost smell the pot. Still, no amount of incense could cover up the unabashed stoner rock performed by Johnnie Cluney, Nolan Girard, John Gamino, Dennis Hockaday and Jake Sheley as they lead listeners on a musical journey over the course of 11 original songs that blend psychedelic, progressive, metal and blues-rock to good effect. The list of iconic sounds and performers they conjure up is too long to list, but highlights include the funky “Light As A Feather,” the ballads “Come Through” and “True Visions” and dark rockers “Apple” and “Tallest Tales.” CV

(Mondo Drag performs Thursday, March 11 at 10 p.m. at the Vaudeville Mews. $5.)


Super Chikan
BluesTown Records

James “Super Chikan” Johnson has the pedigree of a Mississippi bluesman. The singer-guitarist grew up working on farms in the Mississippi Delta; as a child he played a diddley bow; and he earned his nickname when his friends observed him talking to the chickens on his farm. Years later, while driving trucks, he discovered his ability to write and sing upbeat blues tunes in the style of Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and Chuck Berry, before becoming one of the modern purveyors of traditional Delta blues. On “Chikadelic,” Super Chikan proves why he is actor Morgan Freeman’s favorite performer at Freeman’s famous “Ground Zero” blues club in Clarksdale, Miss., strutting through a collection of blues-rockers (“Front Porch Boogie,” “Shoot That Thang”), Bo Diddley beats (“Hey Super Chikan”) and greasy shuffles (“Dance, Rock and Sway”) with a refreshing sense of soul and humor. CV

(Super Chikan performs Wednesday, March 17 at 8 p.m. at Blues on Grand. $10.)

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