G. Love & Special Sauce
Culture Room, Fort Lauderdale
March 13, 2011
The party spirit was thick in the air Sunday night, as it always is when G. Love comes to town. His timing this year was especially fortunate, though. Spring break 2011 is in full swing down here, and peeps are as thirsty for music like his as they are for overpriced rum runners. G. Love always creates a fun atmosphere with his infectious and groovy blues-infused tunes, and his performance Sunday night did not disappoint.
In fact, it was leaps and bounds stronger than last year's appearance at the Culture Room. According to Chris, the band's soundman, all but one show on this tour so far has been sold out, and each show has been better than the last. The Culture Room was indeed packed to the brim, and the performance from the band was supercharged and inspired.
The band started with a few new tunes, then stuck mostly to older material. The new songs were strong, and even songs that seemed to lack inspiration last time around were delivered with great enthusiasm. The energy built steadily as the set went on, and by the time they got to the fan favorite "I-76," which the Philly man G. Love introduced as an "East Coast song," stating that "all that stands between us is I-95," the band and crowd were absolutely buzzing.
"I-76" was followed by an extended, lively version of the old classic "Baby's Got Sauce," which was delivered with evolved instrumentation -- most notably, G. Love playing a guitar solo using the mic as a slide -- and a fresh feel, despite the fact that the song has probably been played at every show for the past decade or more. The band seemed to be having fun with all that they were doing, and the crowd shared in that feeling. While G. Love busted theatrical maneuvers at the front edge of the stage, a woman in the back center sat on strong man's shoulders and danced happily.
The set closed out with "Can't Go Back to Jersey," and the band left the stage momentarily. After just a few minutes, G. Love came back out and sat down at the mic. To begin the encore, he brought out a song from the new album and performed it solo. This was followed by the dirty version of the fan favorite "Booty Call." The song was introduced as "a song which is like no other song. It's not a song; it's a call." The performance of this song featured some really loud call and response with the audience, with G. Love using his guitar to illustrate how to do it "the long way instead of the wrong way." The encore ended up being five or six songs, the other highlight being a deep, funky version of Paul Simon's "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover."
Better than: Putting G. Love on your boom box at the beach and having it drowned out by a cover band playing "Hey Joe."
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The crowd: Was sizable, strong, and happy.
By the way: G Love's new album, Fixin' to Die, is out now.