Where do the kids go for funk these days? Not some "funky" band with an acoustic guitar‚ but dirty‚ sweaty‚ grind-on-your-sister‚ rocking funk. Well‚ you either ingest the secondhand crack smoke emitting from P-Funk's stage‚ or you turn towards the divinity of Porter‚ Batiste‚ Stoltz. As founding member and bassist for The Meters‚ George Porter Jr. literally invented ass-shaking. It's true -- before the birth of the bayou beat‚ the gluteus remained glued. Thus‚ visions of extreme boogie-attacks appeared when this PBS show‚ on 11/7/2007 at Club Metronome in Burlington‚ Vt.‚ was announced. Walking in during the second song and seeing Page McConnell already set up on the Clavinet‚ I knew my legs were going to be a lot sorer the next morning than previously anticipated. It had been a decade since Phish had spent a year infatuated with their self-labeled "cowfunk‚" but Page with the real New Orleans magic brought about something different all together -- the all too aptly dubbed Moodoo.
Now‚ amidst the rhythmic destruction of Metronome's dance-floor that evening‚ I recalled noting a lack of any recording equipment for this gig. Turns out that Porter himself was running the rig‚ and‚ with all honesty‚ the sound of this production is phenomenal. The band played all night‚ with McConnell sitting out more towards the end of the evening‚ but Moodoo picks out nine or so of their favorite cuts. The album opens up with two instrumental tracks featuring just the core trio. "Ausnacious" is the band's way of immediately dismissing themselves from their alter egos in The Meters. This music is raw and fierce‚ and you can hear Brian Stoltz shedding off the constraints of structured grooves like the goddamn Incredible Hulk. Listening to "Comin' At Ya‚" I realize that George Porter Jr. could beat the holy fuck out of me with his bare fingers.
When Page's Clav lines drop in on these tracks‚ especially "Message From PBS‚" it's essentially the sonic equivalent of wrapping a giant piece of bacon around the juiciest steak you've ever seen -- complete sensory overload. It's rare for a band that's already completely locked in as one mind to have a guest mesh so easily‚ but there's a reason why this one night has developed into a mini-tour. The polyrhythms the core three get going on "Check Out Your Mind" are slightly overwhelming for McConnell‚ but the northern boy still holds his own.
There's some great covers on here‚ including a slower‚ grittier take on The Meters' "Out in The Country" and a version of Dylan's "Rainy Day Women" with an incomparably heavy backbeat behind it. Notably absent is the "Us and Them‚" which amidst the funk destruction nearly brought half the room to their knees that night.
To celebrate the album's release‚ the band plays a four-night run this week‚ hitting Troy‚ NY; Providence; New York; and Burlington. Come up with your own disparaging remark to note how dumb you are if you miss it a second time.
Visit Moodoo.