I’m still on a performance kick! Last year at the Clayton Center’s opening show, Papa Mojo opened for Robert Cray. No offense, but I thought Robert Cray just called in his performance. But, opening act, Papa Mojo, aka Mel Melton and the Wicked Mojos, was “cookin” both literally and figuratively! Check out his Durham restaurant webiste ( www.papamojosroadhouse.com) for both solid blues/ blues information as well as spicy Cajun fare! We started with the “shrimp and andouille bites” in Papa’s bbq sauce! Gotta tell ya, Papa’s sauce bit back! Hello Cayenne! I also learned from a “food specialist” that water would only spread the heat but beer would ease the burn! We tried the grilled shrimp with tasso rice and the pan fried oysters (as opposed to “fried”). Dressing was bbq blue cheese! Everything was great…except I think they left out the tasso from the cream sauce for the rice. It had little flavor and certainly not a salty or smoky pork. We ended with buttermilk pie – with blackberry sauce & Chantilly cream (a flavored whipped cream). For me the Chantilly was like putting a dress on a tasso! Too sweet. But when I scraped it off and got the buttermilk pie and blackberry flavor, it was a delicious poor man’s cheesecake! So, that’s the Cajun part. It is available to you with a 45 minute ride to Durham and whether you go for the music or the menu, the ride is worth the experience!
Now on to the Texas part. I saw ZZ Top at DPAC. Being a long, long time fan, I didn’t quite know what to expect. Let me repeat, ZZ Top at DPAC! Think about it! The audience was polite to the opening local act, but the second that Bill Gibbons, Dusty Hill, and Frank Beard came on stage, the audience became one organic whole with that little old band from Texas. I don’t know if it was Standing Room Only, but I know the audience was standing for 90 minutes of great music! The gleaming drum set turned into a backdrop when it was projected on a large screen in black and white and Gibbons and Hill’s live action was multiplied half a dozen times on the projection. There were four other screens that showed some of the early music videos…or clips with “Eliminator” type rides and a tattoed girl! Of course, there were also clips of Jack, Tecate, rattlesnakes and curling smoke. There were no rowdy antics, but sly, dry humor from the two bearded ones, while beardless Beard became dripping wet from the driving percussion. We were treated to old standards and songs from the newly released La Futura, their first album in 9 years. “Chartreuse” and “Gotsta get Paid” are two of the songs that show ZZ Top’s range. I’ve always thought that good musicans will last because they are able to remain true to their style while either adapting or at least nodding to new styles. From Fandango to Rap, this album shows why these same three guys have been together for 40 years! It wasn’t just a trip down memory lane…even with the furry guitars! If you missed the Durham concert, you missed an iconic tonic!