MVVP | 12.05.02 | B.B. King Blues Club | New York City
M = Moore, Stanton
V = Vidocavich, Johnny
V = Vogel, Rich
P = Porter, Jr., George
There is no place on this earth like New Orleans, Louisiana. The lawless free-for-all
smorgasbord of booze, blues, and attitude provides for an experience like no
other, if one can handle the terrain. The heat that pulverizes the city and
its inhabitants comes out in their behavior, manifested through ramshackle alleyways
and majestic sprawling properties, weathered and sturdy architecture frame the
maniacal wisdom and song emanating from within NOLA and up to the Northeast.
And so it was that the grand wizard skins-man Johnny Vidocavich would
lead a troupe of NOLA heavy hitters into another lawless behemoth of a city,
the one that has yet to catch a wink of sleep, the Big Apple. The frenetic drummer
brought along his most famous protégé, Galactic's
Stanton Moore, whom in turn recruited their masterful organist Rich
Vogel. Rounding out the squad was Meters
bassist, NOLA resident badass George Porter Jr. The stage at the swanky
BB Kings was set for a night of whiskey
soaked crunk. And crunk up in there it got.
got the party started with an ominous rumbling groove, accented by Moore's mallets
and some fuzzy low-end tone from Porter. The drummers were seated facing one
another at the front of the stage, with Porter on stage right, behind JV. Vogel,
seated behind his co-conspirator Moore, began to wash some luscious B3 juice
and the starship lifted off. JV began to babble in the mic as he would throughout
the evening, something to effect of "having fun, playing drums." It
evolved into a two chord rolling groove that harked back to MMW circa 95, with
its funky undertones, knocking soundscape and jazzbo chordal tweaking. This
was to be boombap of a crescent city kind.
Porter took some vocals and played lyrical bass, scatting along with "Lemme
have it all," with some rim shots from Johnny, segueing into the first
of many Stanton/Johnny drum duels, this one giving way to Jimmy Smith-like rare
groove sounds led by Vogel. The cohesion of this band and their ability to listen
to one another immediately separated it from the sloppy world of super-jams.
Porter stepped on the envelope filter and as the crowd began to rock so did
the band, with a four to the floor stomper including Johnny V's "cold cans
However, Mr. Vidocavich, you may want to work on your rhymes and flow, because
for such a rhythmic guy, your MC skills can be likened to that of Michael Jordan's
baseball career. Stick to the drums and maybe some lighthearted spoken word.
It just ain't cool, dawg.
a comical Johnny V band intro, Ivan Neville (yet again clad in his Tipitina's
workman shirt, I don't know if I have EVER seen him wear something else!) replaced
Vogel on the Hammond and the energy level was kicked up a notch like Emerald
was right in the mix, rolling up spinach. The band worked out "Love the
One You're With," with George and Ivan trading vocals and smiles, driving
head on into "Just Kissed My Baby," complete with pork chops and gravy.
The NOLA crew ran right back into a rollicking "Love the One" finish,
during which Soulive's Sam Kinninger
and Robert Walter's 20th Congress' Cochema
Gastellum emerged to deliver raucous horn accompaniment and solos. The grille
was sizzling as the first set ended, and I wasn't sure if I wanted Neville to
stay or Vogel to return to the keys.
As the night wore on and the whiskey sank in, the New Orleans vibe really started
Vogel and Moore led the team into the second set with Galactic's "Sprung
Monkey," which the crowd warmly received, particularly during Cheme's blazing
solo that seemed to up the ante all the way around. The jam out of the song
recalled Sly Stone's "Thank You fa letting me be Mice Elf, Again,"
and soon George steered the mothership onto James Marshall Hendrix's "Third
Stone from the Sun."
subdued afrobeat duel followed between teacher and student, driving the vehicle
even further, blurring genre boundaries and dipping into a calypso Bourbon Street
jawn that had me thirsting for Tropical Isle. Vogel handled the sweet melody
as Cheme took a bright solo, major in authority and pitch as it tore the house
down. Another duel gave way to a bluesy excursion led by George Jr., and a heavy
funk joint, also led by the bassist, closed out a raging set that kept on cooking
for nearly ninety minutes.
My favorite Stanton Moore original "Tchfunkta" was the perfect choice
for an encore, its descending melding drone uplifting those remaining in the
house as Moore and JV bashed away grins smearing their childlike expressions.
It was strange to hear the song without horns, although it gave it a feeling
more raw and dagger-like. An amalgam of all things New Orleans, "Tchfunkta"
was a fitting closer to a show that straight wreaked New Orleans, from the drums
to the bums. Ya Heard Me!
Words: Brian Getz
Photos: Dino Perrucci
JamBase Crunkologic Science
Go See Live Music!
PS. Later that evening/early that morning, Vidocavich, Moore, Vogel, Gastellum
and Kinninger joined the Russo/Benevento
duo at Tobacco Road for some late night
fireworks, melding NOLA and NYC together again for another most lustful and