Live: George Porter Jr. and Runnin' Pardners at Bamboo Room, January 6
Photo by Adam Smith
George Porter Jr. and Runnin' Pardners
Bamboo Room, Lake Worth
January 6th, 2011
Better Than: Anything going on in New Orleans that did not have George
Porter Jr. on bass.
Lake Worth's premiere music venue, The Bamboo Room, was
invaded by South Florida's pocket of funk enthusiasts last night. Coming to
town as a preemptive strike before boarding Jam Cruise, an amphibious music
festival with a legion of national talent, George Porter Jr. rounded up a squad
of all-star New Orleans musicians to get the party started. Porter Jr., a bass
legend and funk godfather of the Meters fame, combined with The Running
Pardners - Brint Anderson (guitar/Coupe de Ville), Michael Lemmler
(keyboards/Brasilliance!), Khris Royal (saxophone/Dark Matter/Rebelution) and
Terrence Houston (drums/Dark Matter) - are a balanced mix of old school royalty
and up-and-coming Louisiana prodigies.
Punctual and smiling, Porter Jr. kicked the night off
with "Borro," a song cut from his 2011 release Can't Beat the Funk. The
unique cover album is modern take on 16 tracks recorded by the Meters that
never made it to the live setting. The first set breezed through flawless
renditions of album selections "Same Ole Thing" and "Stay Away" in between
classic New Orleans anthems.
The sit-down lounge format of the Bamboo Room soon
became a stand and groove atmosphere. Stiff cocktails and microbrews were hoisted
in the air as feet shuffled on the floor below. Houston's drumming was such an
impressive percussion effort that he had to shed his shirt as sweat poured down
his face before the fourth song. After relaying a story of how he would be
adapting a guitar solo to his four string bass, Porter Jr. pushed the band into
a deep grooving pocket that allowed him to drop bass bombs over a baby butt
smooth sax solo from Royal. Coupled with a very danceable disco porno-funk jam,
the first set left a very good taste in the mouths of buzzing patrons.
During set break Porter Jr. set up his merchandise booth
where he sold copies of the new album and took pictures with fans (including
yours truly). His accessible, down to Earth approach translated well with his
animated stage presence. The man is the real deal. After meeting anyone who wanted to share words with the bass master, the band was back on stage for
another marathon of new classics and old favorites. Not wasting any time, the
second set warmed up with a nod to Little Feat's "Sailing Shoes" before
exploding into a high light "Sneaking Sally Through The Alley." Shedding all
inhibitions, everyone in the room was now on the dance floor getting down.
It would have been easy to
leave after the explosive guitar solo Anderson threw down on the Robert Palmer
song, but more perfectly executed funk instrumentals from Can't Beat the Funk
kept the crowd from thinning. The payoff came when Porter Jr. invited Jeff
Watkins on stage to show off his learned skills as a saxophone player for James
Brown. Needless to say, things turned into as battle of the saxes between Royal
and Watkins, and the room loved it. As per crowd request, the set ended with
heartfelt "I Need More Time" by the Meters. Although having already played
past curfew, the crowd was able to encourage Houston to jump back on his kit
for a blindfolded, shirtless drum solo before the rest of the band closed the
night with "Yeah You're Right."Critics Notebook:
The Crowd: Closer in age to George Porter Jr., but partying down like it
was 1975 and they were in their 20s.
Random Detail: It only takes one brave soul to start a dance party
when funk is involved. Last night was proof of that.
Overheard: "Play Time for me George, come on George, do it for me" from a
particularly passionate fan just before the band closed with "I Need More Time."
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