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Snarky Puppy @ World Cafe Live.

February 7, 2014

SnarkyPuppy02Text and images by Holli Stephens.

An audience full of musicians, friends, and family graced the downstairs of World Café Live last night. Philadelphia was the first of 30 stops on Snarky Puppy’s North American tour and spectators were treated to a 2 ½ hour set featuring a variety of different instrumentalists.

The intimate show was led by the very expressive bassist, Michael League, who wore a Volkswagen logo shirt and a smile that boosted the already jamming atmosphere.

The Grammy-winning band kicked off its set by playing behind Norwegian singer, Hildegunn Gjedrem. Her platinum blonde hair was cut into an angled bob. She had a stage presence that was so graceful and full of life.

Gjedrem’s sound, combined with the band’s electrifying riffs and melodies of funk and jazz, could only be described as music that was  as groovy as the band’s name.

After a 10-mintue intermission, League announced that the set was to be a repertoire of old and new songs. Audience members were treated to a preview of Snarky Puppy’s upcoming album, We Like it Here.

The energy of Snarky Puppy was something truly amazing to see. The band could speed up and immediately slow down and start up all over again in a matter of seconds. The audience was fully immersed in very dynamic detail and many shout-outs could be heard during the performance.

Multi-instrumentalist, Cory Henry stole the show with crazy, harmonically-enriched solos on keyboards. Later in the set, League told the audience, “We are not a fusion band, but Cory brought a freakin’ keytar to the show.”

Other band members included drummer Robert Searight II, guitarist Mark Lettieri, guitarist Bob Lanzetti , trumpeter Justin Stanton, tenor saxophone and flutist Chris Bullock, and trumpeter Mike Maher. A crazy conga set was also played by a special guest percussionist from Nagasaki, Japan.

Every instrumentalist had at least one solo during the set. It seemed like the members of Snarky Puppy could predict what the other was going to play and members would often go into these long sequences where it would be back and forth between two instruments, as if it were a musical conversation.

League stated how he wanted the audience to participate and sing the melody as the band played the first song off the new album. This was met by a two minute a cappella sequence of audience members belting their hearts out before the band charged in and took back the melody responsibility. Another song off the new album, “Sleeper,” was dedicated to League’s niece. This incorporated an upbeat flute solo from Bullock.

“Keep supporting live music,” were League’s final words as he wished the crowd a good night and thanked all the band’s friends and family for coming to the show.

  1. February 7, 2014 6:48 pm

    nice had to share

  2. February 8, 2014 9:44 am

    They are doing good

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