Big George Brock | Photo by John Vettese

Two musicians who rarely play east of the Mississippi brought down the house (or the tent, rather) at the 51st annual Philadelphia Folk Festival as the Mississippi Blues Project kicked off its year-long concert series. The show kicked off with fierce beats, loud riffs and juke-joint energy from the Cedric Burnside Project. Here’s how XPN Blues Show host Johnny Meister described it in his review:

Burnside’s awe-inspiring skills on the drums, and the artistry and athleticism of his playing no doubt left vivid memories in the minds of the many people crowding up to the stage, dancing, hollering, clapping hands, and perhaps wondering, as I was at times, how this was humanly possible.

Also on the bill was the soulful theatrics of 80-year-old Big George Brock and his ensemble. Says Meister:

Brock is almost blind at this point, and has some hearing loss and problems with his hands, but none of that prevented him from singing the blues the way only an authentic blues singer can, and playing his harmonica with aplomb. Brock was regally attired in robes, with a cape and crown, and his band was top-notch.

You can read Johnny Meister’s entire review of the concert here, and check out a photo recap here. The Mississippi Blues Project, which is supported by a grant from the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, continues on Monday, October 22 with performances by Jimmy “Duck” Holmes and Terry “Harmonica” Bean at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.