The Carolina Chocolate Drops played string music to a sold-out crowd at the Pour House Sunday night. They sounded good, but thanks to a too-small venue, only the first five rows enjoyed it. The moral of the story? The Carolina Chocolate Drops have “made it,” as evidenced by their serious need of a bigger playing space. We arrived at 7 p.m. to find hundreds of people standing in line outside.
When the Chocolate Drops finally took the stage three hours later, it was without fanfare. Amazingly talented vocalist Rhiannon Giddens announced they were going to play some “slow somber music”— a joke, of course, as they opened with a toe-tapper straight from the 1920s. The audience jigged as a single entity. It wasn’t like we had a choice. It was so crowded in there, if the guy 10 feet to your left was dancing, you were dancing, like some human form of musical dominos.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I love the Chocolate Drops. I love the Pour House. There is a time, however, when bands like this just can’t play these small venues anymore. As I said, they sounded good. I spent more time watching the screens above the bar than the actual band, though, so I’m not sure how good they looked. The crowd was too much of a deterrent to sitting back and enjoying the music. There is a lesson to be learned: Chocolate Drops, it’s time for you to play a bigger venue next time you come to Chucktown. We’ll see you at Spoleto.