Words & Images by Jeffrey Dupuis
PBS (G. Porter, R. Batiste, B. Stoltz) :: 6.23.06 :: Maple Leaf :: New Orleans, LA
Together they have toured, written, and played with a veritable who's who of music, including Bob Dylan, Gov't Mule, Dr. John, Maceo Parker, Paul McCartney, David Byrne, Vida Blue, Robert Palmer, Patti Labelle, Jimmy Buffett, Allen Toussaint, Earl King, Lee Dorsey, Johnny Adams, Robbie Robertson, Tori Amos, Harry Connick, Jr., Champion Jack Dupree, the Neville Brothers, Coco Montoya, The Wild Magnolias, and Edie Brickell to name but a few. While completely accurate, describing Porter-Batiste-Stoltz as "three of the guys from the Funky Meters" is an incredible understatement. Formed in 2004 by George Porter Jr. (bass), Russell Batiste Jr. (drums), and Brian Stoltz (guitar) when the Funky Meters were put on hiatus by Art "Poppa Funk" Neville's back problems and subsequent back surgery, PBS has blossomed into a funk force to be reckoned with. Having released Expanding the Funkin Universe and numerous live performances, PBS has grown into a true band and has really come into its own.
George Porter Jr. :: 06.23 :: NOLA
PBS recently finished a month-long Friday night residency at New Orleans' famed Maple Leaf Bar in preparation for their current summer tour. If former New Orleans resident William S. Burroughs had been there, he would have described it as "a perfect New Orleans night, so hot that smoke falls from the chilly bottles." Even the sweltering heat and humidity could not keep the crowds from dancing hard to the indigenous funk.
Brian Stoltz :: 06.23 :: NOLA
On the final night of their residency, PBS treated the crowd to many of the original songs from Expanding the Funkin Universe, including "Take a Chance," "Serepahina Live," "I Believe," and "OUW." Many of these songs are actually written as songs, not simply jams, with intricate parts and forms similar to a Maceo Parker funk style. In that aspect, PBS is a leaner funk machine, making quick twists and turns rather than simply finding the pocket and staying there all night. PBS also has developed some beautiful three-part harmonies, which lift the vocals to another level. Not to say that there isn't any jamming going on; in fact, there was only one stop during the second set with the rest of the set being strung together through jams or drum breakdowns.
While PBS includes many originals in their show, they wove covers by The Meters, Curtis Mayfield, Neil Young, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, and Jimi Hendrix nicely into the setlist, making these songs their own and adding a heavy layer of funk to the classic tracks.
PBS :: 06.23.06 :: Maple Leaf :: New Orleans
Name Up in Lights (the Meters) >
Seraphina Live >
Check Out Your Mind (Curtis Mayfield)
Take a Chance
Getting Funky All the Time
Us and Them (Pink Floyd) >
Down by the River (Neil Young) >
Breathe (Pink Floyd) >
Let the Good Times Roll (Earl King)
You Can Make it if You Try (tease) >
Gimme Whatcha Can >
Come Together (Beatles) >
The Ocean (Led Zeppelin tease) >
Spanish Castle Magic (Hendrix)
PBS Tour Dates:
08.19 | TBA | Baltimore, MD
08.21 | Chicken Box | Nantucket, MA
08.22 | Chicken Box | Nantucket, MA
08.23 | Stone Church | Newmarket, NH
08.24 | Narrows Center For The Arts | Fall River, MA
08.25 | Stage One | Fairfield, CT
08.26 | B.B. King's Blues Club | New York, NY
09.27 | The Pour House | Charleston, SC
09.28 | The Pour House | Charleston, SC
09.30 | Bragg Jam | Macon, GA
10.20 | Mexicali Blues Cafe | Teaneck, NJ
10.21 | Old Dominion Bayou & Blues Festival | Richmond, VA
JamBase | New Orleans
Go See Live Music!