"Let The Music Take Your Mind," Eric Krasno announced the first song performed by he and Lettuce. "That's what we're here to do."
It was a impromtu gathering of some incredibly talented and generous musicians. In the wake of all this sadness, the Great American Music Hall was filled to the gills with people that just had to get up off the couch and turn off the TV. Coming out to see each other's healthy but tired faces was very positive and friends were happy to embrace.
Kudu was a classy start to this evening. Sylvia Gordon was the picture perfection and beauty. "Billy Holliday with break beats," JennyZ remarked. Deantoni Parks was giving the Music Hall just a small taste of his killer skills on the skins. Dubbed "The Zach Velmer of New York," his playing is real fast and tight. Peter Stoltzman and Nick Kasper dualed each other with sound effects and keyboard, one covering the bass lines while the other explored new tones. This young band played to a strange crowd with professionalism and immense style. Please check out their website [www.kudumusic.com] to find out more about Kudu.
The most chilling and honest portion of the evening was directly preceding Particle's set, where promoter Allen Scott brought up the head of the Bay Area chapter of the Red Cross, who asked everyone for a minute of silence. In a room with 500 people, you could hear a pin drop, and not a sound was made for and every mind in that room thought of all of those people they don't even know that are gone.
Particle. Now this was the first time I'd seen them since their very first gig on the boat after the last Phish show. Holy moly! This band is on fire. Their good spirits were infectious and their jams had really epic moments. Their style starts out with that happy, swaying, circle of sounds for a few minutes. And then BAM, they hit you with the house! "Space-porn funk" is what I've been hearing about, and I get it now. Keyboardist Steve Molitz is ridiculous. So much energy, it is great to see a keyboard led funk squad. He was using a Moog Source to make the weirdest sounds. Bassist Eric Gould was a nice deep end - very melodic at times and often leading the direction of the whole feel of the music. Guitarist Charlie Hitchcock played happy funk rhythm and was ripping solos whenever Molitz wasn't. People were finally grooooving and it was feeling good.
Sam Kininger and Eric Krasno of Soulive/Lettuce were invited up to rock one more with Particle. They played Grant Green's "Windjammer" and it was waaaay funky. Eric Krasno is such a class act and to hear his first notes of the night sent chills down my spine.
Lettuce arrived with Sam Kininger on alto sax, Eric Krasno on guitar, E.D. Coombs on bass (old school original bassist that used to play with Eric when he was just a kid with a guitar at Berklee), Nick Kasper (Kudu) on keys, and Tyler Coombs on drums. This night was a unique opportunity for these guys to come together and play. What a treat for everyone, really. Wishes went out to Neal and Al Evans (Soulive) who went home to New York to be with their families.
The band started out with "Let The Music Take Your Mind" and continued on through a beautiful set of funky and soulful numbers (sorry, no setlist). Each player was strong and the Coombs brothers were heavy! E.D. on bass was such a badass with that 6-string and Tyler was an animal on the drums. He was tag teamed by Kudu's Deantoni Parks about 2/3 through the set. Deantoni was a star! His drum solo towards the end of the set was out of control, possessed by that rhythm within. Deantoni won some hearts at the Music Hall last night. How can you do anything but smile with that insane drumming going on? The Bay Area's own human beat box Radioactive jumped up for a rhyme. Bringing lyrics into this scene brought the room back to some current reality. Tasteful reflection on a week that has lasted a year.
As hour grew late, the music had to end. I would like to personally thank all of the musicians who came out to play last night. The music took my mind for that short time and it felt so good to dance and smile and celebrate the life that is still held by my loved ones. I hope that others found comfort in the positive energy that was being perpetuated. All of my love goes out to those who are mourning in these days and my prayers for peace and healing go out to our crying nation. Stand strong America!
Special thanks to Allen Scott of Mystery Machine Productions and everyone at the Great American Music Hall for this very special evening. Over $5000 was donated to the American Red Cross last night.
Resident World Bridger