G. Love and Special Sauce
March 7, 2008
Better Than:All the jam in Welch’s reserves.
Forget Umphrey’s McGee and the Disco Biscuits and whatever’s left of the Dead (and that includes you, Dark Star Orchestra), ‘cause when it comes to full fest groove, there is but one band that can stand throughout the land: G. Love and Special Sauce.
Yeah, yeah, I know, thousands upon thousands of tie-dyed fogies might disagree; so too the neo post-hippie kids who seem permanently wedded to their grandparents’ laps. But bottom dollar down, when it comes to boogaloo beat and wisecrack rhyme, those Philly white boys have got it going on – big time.
Of course the cats have had practice. Hell, not only were they the coolest of the tour that came as H.O.R.D.E. way back in the ‘early ’90s, but, if I recall correctly, when I caught ‘em at Central Park Summerstage later that decade they even blew away Beck.
Okay, so I could be wrong about the Beck part (hey, it was a decade ago), but I’m not wrong about H.O.R.D.E., just as I’m not wrong about G. Love’s continuing capacity to outgroove the marmalade composites known as jam. Least ways if the bopping throngs at yesterday’s suitably-timed Sunset Stage Langerado set were any indication.
And throngs they were: sweaty, silly and out for good ol’ fashioned fun. Of course, G. Love and company gave ‘em what they came for, and they gave it to ‘em with the flair and the moxie of long-running showmen. In fact, so confident was he in his and his band’s ability to produce paroxysms of fist-pumping, G. Love (otherwise known as Garrett Dutton) came out and kicked-off the action from a chair.
If my sweat-soaked notes are to be believed, of the crowd-wowing bits I clocked “Back of the Bus,” “Booty Call” and “Baby’s Got Sauce;” after that, I stopped trying to remember titles and just got into the swing of it all. Me, and about 5000 like-minded Fest freaks. Really.
Would I do it again? Probably not. But I’d defend to the death of Phil Lesh the smarter fest fan’s chance to do so, for as long and as often as they’d like.
Take that, jelly boys!
Personal Bias: I’ve dug white soul since Bowie was the Thin White Duke.
Random Detail: Drummer Jeffrey Clemens (aka Houseman) has a kit fit for a Lemonade stand.
By the Way: You can stream a helluva lot of Special Sauce on their site.