Locked Down is The Black Keys guitarist-songwriter Dan Auerbach’s collaboration with Mac “Dr. John” Rebennack — the two premiere it April 5 – 7 at Brooklyn Academy of Music, second program of three the good Dr. presents there over three consecutive weekends. I bet it’ll be a better-produced show than his “Tribute to Louis Armstrong,” the all-star hodgepodge I’ve reported on in my new City Arts column. Which was fun, but. . .
On first listen: Locked Down is bluesy, hooky and kinda rad, more wry and martial than funky and celebratory. A retro-soul mix: Plenty of gtr-tremolo, cheesy organ, stiff-rockin’ rhythms, girls goin’ ooh and ahh while Mac croons, “Religious delusions . . . stone confusions . . .rebellion revolution . . Is this the final solution?” over riffing bari sax. He rues our current hard times in “Ice Age,” warns “the world’s loss is everybody’s business,” portrays an egomaniac in “Big Shot” then gets credibly humble in “God’s Sure Good.” Not about to replace “I Walk on Gilded Splinters” in my playlist, but a strong followup, 45 years later, to that swamp mystic classic.
Next week Dr. John hosts New Orleans homies Irma Thomas, Ivan Neville, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, alto saxist Donald Harrison and trumpeter Nicholas (“‘BAM’ not ‘jazz,’“) Payton. Predicting that will be another loose, over-stuffed, fun-enough event.