Great live music can be hard to come by in suburban Connecticut. For me‚ going to shows usually means a long‚ late-night train ride home from New York and a very rough morning at work the next day. That's why getting to see funk-powerhouse Lettuce at a little club in the sleepy town of Norwalk‚ CT last week was a pretty big deal to locals like me.
Lettuce came out swinging‚ playing to a mostly-full room that was ready to party. If you closed your eyes it wouldn't be hard to imagine that you were in New Orleans at a late-night JazzFest show -- the atmosphere was that rowdy.
Most people probably know Lettuce as something of a side project for guitarist Eric Krasno‚ organist Alan Evans (both of Soulive) and drummer Adam Deitch (Break Science‚ Pretty Lights)‚ who's worked with everyone from Johns Scofield to Wyclef.
The 'side project' tag does not do Lettuce justice. Krasno‚ Evans and Deitch are the biggest names on the marquee but this is very much a full-fledged band and it was really the horn section that shined brightest on Thursday night. Most of the solos came from saxophonists Ryan Zoidis and James Casey and trumpeter Eric Bloom‚ all of whom were very much on point and were getting a lot of love from hyped up crowd.
When Krasno did solo he kept it cool and tasteful‚ never veering too far into shred territory -- something I definitely appreciate from my funk guitarists. "Restraint" really was the theme of the night as everyone in Lettuce seemed happy to serve the greater good of the groove. Freaky-looking bass player Erick "Jesus" Coomes kept everyone in the pocket with help from the amped up Deitch who must go through a lot of drumheads the way he pounds his snare.
The first comparison that comes to mind for Lettuce is definitely Tower of Power -- both have intricately arranged horn lines that lead the way. They also have a Greyboy All Stars thing going and would be a safe bet for anyone who's a fan of the funk.
We have the folks at Funk Therapy Productions to thank for the Lettuce show and a bunch more coming this month to Rhythm Nightclub‚ a decent little club in Southwestern‚ CT where everyone knows your name -- or at least has good taste in music.