George Porter Jr. and the Runnin’ Pardners, Papa Grows Funk @ Tipitina’s – 2/11/11

George Porter Jr. and the Runnin' Pardners, Papa Grows Funk @ Tipitina's - 2/11/11

Photo © Jimmy Grotting

Photo © Jimmy Grotting

Editor’s Note: Welcoming to the fray fellow live music junkie and LA native Lon Marchand. Starting with this great review of our current Artist of the Month, Lon will now be contributing his vast base of local knowledge and commentary to LMB NOLA.

We took advantage of Tipitina’s “Free Febuary” promo (guest list spots for the entire month with the purchase of a single ticket) and headed down to Tips to watch New Orleans’ premier bass player and an entourage of local funk stars throw it down in true SuperJam fashion. Although billed as two separate bands, it was clear that the evening was going to be more of a collaborative effort from both camps (PGF’s John Gros was a 7 year member of The Runnin’ Pardners and June Yamagashi has appeared numerous times with George Porter during the Maple Leaf Trio gigs).

warmed things up with their signature blend of funk improv, and as we slipped into our spots on the floor, George Porter strutted onto the stage to do what he does best. Taking center stage with his big Fender bass draped across one of his signature tie dyed tees, he and Marc Pero turned the low end into the focal point of the music, slapping and plucking out thick bass lines for June and John Gros to follow. Perhaps drawn in by the two bass attack, snuck out from the darkness and took a seat at John Gros’s stack for the remainder of PGF’s set. A huge “Ain’t No Use” was used as a springboard for a seamless transition between the two bands, and as Gros’ sat back and let big organ swells wash over the room, his bandmates began to switch off with Running Pardners at their posts. The end of “Ain’t No Use” signaled the end of the PGF set, and only a brief pause to send Gros off separated the two performances.

One thing I like about George Porter, is that he likes to start his sets with a loose, lighthearted swagger – working the pocket and moseying around the stage, letting the groove naturally find it’s way around the room and the letting the musicians around him find their place in the music. Then on the drop of a dime, the band is off – flexing their chops around razor sharp runs and split second changes. A big part of this for the Pardners (and major addition to the current lineup) is New Orleans’ born, Berkelee educated Khris Royal, whose Akai EWI electronic sax adds just the right amount of horn to the mix. The Pardners takes on classics like “Funkify Your Life” and “Junco Partner” were outstanding renditions, and you had to love the “Sailing Shoes – Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley” combo. Porter Jr. knows those tracks all too well, The Meters
backed Robert Palmer in the studio on his incredible Sneakin’ Sally album.

Set three began somewhere after midnight with the return of the Papa Grows Funk gang to the mix. Rightfully dubbed “Porter-Grows-Funk”, the last segment of the show had all 12 people on stage and the whole house was shaking in response to the added bonus. They completely destroyed a “Will It Go Round In Circles” and had the floor of Tips pumping with energy with some classic Carnival music (perhaps preparation for when the two bands team up again for their Lundi Gras celebration on March 7th at the Howlin’ Wolf). June Yamagashi is still one of the city’s true guitar masters, and getting to see him play with George and Ivan Neville was a treat.

As always, you can find Papa Grows Funk on Monday nights at The Maple Leaf and The Runnin’ Pardners will be at D.B.A. on Saturday, March 5th.

For a full photo gallery –

February 14, 2011 |  by  |  Reviews
 
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