reCAP :: Lettuce + funky METERS :: 2013.12.21
The Capitol Theatre hosted two of today’s funkiest bands, Lettuce and funky Meters. Holiday flower arrangements were placed on either side of the stage. The walls and ceiling were lit up with visuals to compliment the funk that was being thrown down. The crowd was pumped; everyone was dancing and bouncing to the beat. With arms wide opened, we welcomed the funk masters to the stage. We celebrated Art "Poppa Funk" Neville’s 76th birthday with candles on a cake and song. Strangers became friends, and Soule Monde’s Russ Lawton (drums) and Ray Paczkowski (organ) from The Trey Anastasio Band welcomed us into Garcia’s before we left the theater. This was a night to remember.
The funky Meters took the stage Saturday night bringing the heat and bounce from New Orleans straight into the soul of The Capitol Theater. Everyone was playing on all cylinders, while Art Neville belted Allen Toussaint’s “Get Out My Life, Woman” where he treated the crowd to an amazing keyboard solo. Then George Porter Jr. (bass) and Russell Batiste (drums) threw out “Get Together” turning The Capitol Theatre into a steamy venue reminiscent of a tightly packed New Orleans clubs during Jazz Fest. Brian Stolz (guitar) tore it up on stage, setting the pace for the rest of the evening to come. After a four-song tease, diving in and out between “Cissy Strut,” “Red Hot Momma,” and others they finally settled on Hendrix’s screaming song “Voodoo Child.”
George Porter Jr. brought it back down a bit with “People Say," his bass reverberating throughout the theater, while a 70’s motif of orange and brown and yellow patterns were melting down the walls of The Cap. funky Meters ended with a rousing “Big Chief” into “Cissy Strut” before Batiste threw his drumstick into the crowd and George Porter screamed “Happy Holidays!” With a full band bow, they walked Art Neville stage left, while the crowd was screaming in appreciation, to a birthday cake filled with candles. We sang happy birthday to Poppa Funk, and then tried to cool off before Lettuce took the stage.
Lettuce This was Lettuce’s fourth night playing within New York, and it seemed the last three nights at The Brooklyn Bowl loosened them up to destroy the stage for Saturday’s The Cap show. Lucky us!
When Lettuce hit the stage, the funk was already flowing freely throughout The Cap. An eight-piece band with Eric Krasno and Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff (guitars), Neal Evans (Keys, B3), Adam Deitch (drums), Erick “Jesus” Coomes (bass), and horns Ryan “Zwad” Zwoidis (Sax), Eric Bloom (trumpet) and James Casey (Sax).
Blasting off with “Blast Off” first, Ryan Zwoidis sets the tone for the impending RAGE that was about to happen. The energy was at an exploding point, the room bouncing along with Shmeeans and Jesus’ jumping up on the stage. The crowd erupted for Lettuce’s “Madison Square" — New York and the Knicks fully being represented in this New York venue. They then unveiled a new song for us, filled with spacey hits, synthesized rhythms and riffs on repeat, loud and high horns harmonizing into a great beat and a solid groove. At one point James Casey went wild on the congas before he got back onto the sax again.
They played favorites like “Lettsanity,” “Ziggowatt,” “Slippin into Darkness,” and “Fly.” Alecia Chakour joined the band to sing lead on a few songs before Nigel Hall joined for a bit of James Brown with “Pass the Peas.” At one point the whole band literally stopped playing and stood frozen in time for what felt about 10 minutes while the crowd went wild waiting for the band to continue. They ended with Nigel and Alecia singing “For My Friend” for the encore of the evening.
Everyone was standing, dancing on the floor and up in the balcony. Everyone had wide smiles on their faces. The funk was heavy this evening, and I’d venture to say this was one of the steamiest, funkiest shows all season at The Capitol.