In the past few years, Sean Ardoin has noticed that zydeco recordings, admittedly his included (Return of the Kool), have been so clean and impeccably done that some of the necessary energy has been lacking. Well, problem solved. Along comes Live at the Chicken Run!, a maniac live recording from the cavernous Lake Charles Civic Center that shows things don’t have to be clinically perfect to be electrifying. The engaging Ardoin fronts an uber-tight band that relentlessly barrels through dense arrangements and shifts into new tunes with hardly a second of down time.
Not only is Zydekool tight instrumentally, its vocals are unbelievably synchronized. While Ardoin sings lead, his group often weaves full-force background vocals that add punch to an already walloping attack.
“Nikki’s Secret Century” builds the fast and furious momentum to apocalyptic heights with Jeffrey Malbroux’s darkish keyboards and Ardoin chanting “remember me for centuries.”
“Whoa! Whoa!” is even hotter. Ardoin strings together infectious “yaga-yagas and woo-woo-woo-woos” that evolve into a funky zydeco-meets-Parliament groove. Give Ardoin his props—it’s hard to imagine this live affair having any more creative energy than what’s already boiling here. Woo! Woo!