I had only encountered Snarky Puppy on YouTube, prior to this. This gig was a shock for me. These days, at the ABC, I tend to bowl up and discover that (due to the act’s obscurity and/or demographic of the audience) the act that I’m there to see has been demoted to the far smaller hall below the big room. Tonight, not so, it’s mobbed. The crowd is young with lots of women. Most in early thirties, if that!
I get the impression a lot of them are actually musicians (the guy behind me enthusiastically explained the various time signatures to what looks like his Dad and Uncle – they, in turn are more focussed on the price of the drinks for sale. “Four eighty five, for a pint? Ferfucksake!”)
We have no sooner arrived than there’s a loud round of applause. ‘House of Waters’ are playing their first gig outside the US. I greatly enjoyed the young trio but wondered how much of this I could listen to at home before it became too ‘samey’. There’s only so much you can do with bass, drums and hammered dulcimer on heavy FX pedals.
Quite a long changeover followed and then Snarky Puppy came on stage. A nine piece (Bass, Drums, percussion, two keyboards, guitar and a brass section) The band were changing instruments after, and sometimes during, every tune. Each one of them a maestro.The level of musicianship you would expect to find on latter day Steely Dan material.
I enjoyed about 90% of the show, I guess, with the remainder looming too close to the red area on the musak-ometer for my liking
Being completely instrumental, and me being unaware of their catalogue, I then found myself occasionally mind wandering, and creating dreamscapes to accompany the tunes being performed (both bands annoyingly and repeatedly referred to ‘songs’. I’m sorry but songs require singers and lyrics. What you were playing were ‘tunes’)
This evening’s dreamscapes were…
Miles Davis motor biking around inside The Tyrell Corporation avoiding acrobatic replicant assassins while trying to score his next fix.
An aerial ‘drone shot’ of a vast lake of flamingos all taking to the wing simultaneously.
George Clinton dressed as a clown riding into Dodge City on a small pony, wandering into Sophie’s Saloon and drinking sasparilla.
Frank Cannon turning his bathroom upside down looking for his lost shaving brush in nain (that was the muzak)
Wonderful. Go see ’em!