BRIDES OF JESUS | PHENOMENAL FUNK

Brides of Jesus is a jam band with elements of funk, jam, jazz, soul and rock ‘n’ roll. The Brides were born back in 1992 by Bill Iuso (guitar, vocals). Bill has spent his last three years as the stage and road manager with the Funky Meters and Neville Brothers. With his soulful lyrics and psychedelic guitar leads rooted deep in French Quarter mayhem, Bill has brought together a group of world-class musicians for a Colorado Winter 2002 Tour. In addition to Bill, the Brides feature Russell Batiste on the drums and cymbals, Nori Naraoka on the 5-string bass, and Charlie Dennard on B-3 Organ & Keys.

FOX THEATER | BOULDER, CO | 03.06.02

First night in Colorado and they are slotted for a 75 minute co-bill set with Porterhouse (very good funk jam band – check them out). Brides go on first at 9:30pm and deliver 75 minutes of musical bliss. They went back to the beginning with the old-school Brides’ tunes “What’s Gonna Set You Free” and “Let Me Have It All.” Then there were hints of Jerry with a very cool version of “Don’t Let Go” and also the Beatles with an “Eleanor Rigby” funk jam tease. The Who’s “Eminence Front” was also set highlight. Another strength of the Brides’ setlist is their syncopated instrumental funk tunes like “Earle.” It is great to see a talent like Russell Batiste generously sharing the wealth by playing with the Brides when he’s not playing with his own Orchestra from Da’ Hood, or Page McConnell’s Vida Blue, or Papa Grows Funk, or the Funky Meters. His chops are beyond description. You must be there to experience the phenomenon. Nori, a native of Japan, has come to the USA to play the bass in a nasty way. He lays low on the low-end until he feels the energy is just right for a fat bass line or two or three. Charlie (Moore & More, Quintology) ranges from tickling the ivories to slapping the B-3 organ. During this past Super Bowl’s festivities in New Orleans, Paul McCartney (The Beatles, Wings) brought his whole band and entourage to the Windsor Court where Charlie was playing piano in the house bar. McCartney asked Charlie if he wouldn’t mind playing a tune while McCartney serenaded his fiancée. So playing music with a Beatle gets extra credit points, in my book. And then there is Bill who holds all the cards and chips with his Modulus guitar and his voice.

DOUBLE DIAMOND | ASPEN, CO | 03.09.02

After the Fox Theatre in Boulder, the band hit Quixotes and the Bluebird Theater in Denver, and then the Half Moon Saloon in Vail. I joined up with them again for a Saturday night fish fry at the Double Diamond in Aspen.

The band was in excellent spirits and excellent spirits were in everybody. Tonight we were in for a “two-setter.” The first set started off with hi-energy funk jamming for the early bird crowd. And then after intense pressure from Russell and the die-hard fans, they played the Russell Batiste original “Fire in the Garage.” This is an epic instrumental with some greasy hooks. As the set continued, the dance floor was grooving. Despite shredding the slopes all-day in 15 inches of new powder, I was busting out dance moves I didn’t know were possible.

The set break gave everyone involved a chance to catch their breath. The 8,000 foot altitude will get you if you don’t breath and drink water. For the second set, it was back to non-stop dancing with a rowdy, interactive crowd. “Eminence Front” made another appearance, and the closing of the set was “Cissy Strut > Love the One You’re With” and a “Sing a Simple Song” encore. Very strong!!!

Catch the Brides whenever you can. Visit Brides of Jesus' website or Brides of Jesus on JamBase for tour dates. You won’t regret it. Oh, and by the way, when Russell isn’t on the drum kit, Bill invites “Mean” Willie Green (Neville Brothers’ percussionist) to join the band.

Matthew Kane
JamBase | Colorado
Go see live music!

[Published on: 3/20/02]

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