Iko-Iko Returns to Butchertown

Cincy's James Cole Band Opens Show

By Tim Roberts

Photos by Paul Moffett

Continuing to ride with the success of their latest release Protected by Voodoo, Miami-based Iko-Iko returned to the Butchertown Pub on Saturday, June 20 for a show filled with their own brand of Florida swamp blues, southern Gothic and Cajun-flavored fun.

Graham Wood Drout of Iko-Iko

Only five members of the band were available for the show: lead singer Graham Wood Drout, Danny Leibinger on horns and keys, Stewart Jean on drums, Michael Mennell on bass and one-time Louisville resident Larry Williams on lead guitar. The other keyboardist and sax player, Ronald James Dziubla, was ill with chicken pox. Regardless, the sound was as tight and complete as if all members were present.

Larry Williams of Iko-Iko

Most of their set contained material from Protected, which has songs primarily about the grotesques of life: people who are not repulsive but, because of circumstances or choice, are disenfranchised, socially crippled, living at the fringes of normal existence. People like "Three Fingered Fellers Named Shorty," who "grease the gears on the carnival rides" and "eat too much cold Beef-a-Roni." Others, too, like faith healers who are scared of lightning and who walk with zombies.

WFPK's Dan Reed

But it wasn't all songs of gloom. There was a hot 'n spicy celebration with "Jalepeno Be Thy Name," traditional rock and roll with growly sax in "Bag Me, Tag Me, Take Me Away," the tent-revival fire of "When the Devil Calls Collect" and "Don't Drink the Strychnine." And like their last performance, they punctuated the show with the slow, shadowy "I Got Gris-Gris," which segued into "Walk With the Zombie."

James Cole

The crowd was larger than the last time Iko-Iko came to town. Plus they were less shy about dancing.

The James Cole Band was the opening act. This five-piece outfit from Cincinnati, fronted by WFPK morning drive host Dan Reed, delivered what it promised: loud, thumpy, no-nonsense bar-band rock and blues. They were joined for two selections by vocalist Nicki Bueherig, noted for her work with Paul K and the Weathermen on L©ve Is a Gas.

And wasn't that Jimmy V in the Courtyard with his new band? Never quite made it back there.