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It’s still hard to shake the feeling that there’s a little bit of bayou bullshit in everything Dr. John does. Sure, his 2008 album City that Care Forgot was as heartfelt and direct as any post-Katrina music from New Orleans. And his band, the Lower 911, ain’t messin’ around. (They just released another disc, Tribal, earlier this month.) But what else would you expect? That hellish storm—which hit the city five years ago—sharpened lots of things for lots of people. So do a few years of sociopolitical clarity override a long career of decidedly nonthreatening funk and blues? Maybe not. But perhaps the guy deserves some slack: He’s as much a creation of New Orleans as anything. And if there’s one thing Katrina taught us, it’s that we should all be damned if we think we understand that city from afar.
DR. JOHN AND THE LOWER 911 PERFORM AT 7:30 P.M. AT THE BIRCHMERE, 3701 MOUNT VERNON AVE., ALEXANDRIA. $39.50. (703) 549-7500.