The Funky Meters 2.8.2014
Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
Photos & Words By Kevin Hahn
There are legends, and then there are what most people call “The Originators” or “Creators” of whatever one may be talking about. In my 24 years on this planet, I have not had many opportunities to see “The Original” of any of my favorite music groups, venues, or even types of music. It seems as if these days most musical genres are turning towards what is most popular or what sells the most records. But there are a few groups who are trying to keep as close to the “Original” of what they are creating as possible. One such group is the Funky Meters, led by Original Meter members, Art Neville and George Porter Jr. To be given the chance to see these two men play together is a very special thing, and most music fans around the world do not get this chance often. Thankfully I live in Denver, which in my opinion has one of the best/most up-and-coming music scenes in the world.
George roams around the stage with a genuine purpose, throwing nasty bass lines in front of a different band member from time to time that only leads to a higher level of improvisation for the music audience. In this particular group, George Porter Jr. is joined by guitar badass Brian Stoltz, who comes from the former “Neville Brothers” group, and Russell Batiste Jr. on drums, who honestly is not my favorite drummer to watch/listen to, but he has a great time on stage and brings a good energy to the performance. Stoltz, however, is extremely talented on the electric guitar and can even sing when covers such as The Beatles “Come Together” or Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love” are thrown into the mix. PBS (Porter, Batiste, Stoltz) are a great trio and have a very harmonious sounding connection on stage, even if Neville seems to just be making random sounds from time to time. But, songs such as “Cissy Strut,” “Cardova,” “Too Funky” and the New Orleans classic “Iko Iko” all were fantastic as Porter Jr. led the group through some of the Meters legendary hits.
I walked away from Cervantes Masterpiece last Friday with a huge smile (almost hurting my cheeks) running across my face because I knew that I had just witnessed something absolutely amazing. Yes, the Funky Meters may be back next year to rage our great state of Colorado, but one never knows when someone like Art Neville may stop touring and retire. Do yourself a favor and go and see these guys play whenever possible, as it may not continue for much longer. They still can bring some serious funk-age and definitely know how to have a great time when playing in front of an audience who is there to respect their musical heritage. These men are legends and will continue to be so long into the future.
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Setlist: Too Funky > All I Do Everyday > Trick Bag > Come Together > He Bite Me > My Name in Lights > Cissy Pickup > Cissy Strut > Soul Island > (bass mix it up), Cardova > Get Out My life Woman > Cissy Endin’ > Big Chief > Bass Solo > Just A Little Bit > Just kissed my baby > IKO IKO > Feel Like Funkin It Up (RP Tease) > Ain't No Use
Encoré: Eleanor Rigby (tease), Art's bag of funk Bo Diddley > Hand Jive > Fiyo on the Bayou > Sunshine of Your Love > Look A Py-Py