Forget parking in my usual spot a block away from Stubb’s. Red River felt particularly crowded this past weekend – even by Austin standards. It seemed nearly every major spot had a line streaming down the sidewalk for entry, and Stubb’s was no exception.
The reason can be summed up in one word:
Wherever funk phenom Lettuce goes, the people go. Their brand of addictive new-school funk music often crosses over into deep waters usually explored by the headiest jam bands. And as an opening act, they brought along Colorado’s own hard-hitting funk giants, The Motet. No wonder Austin turned out for this one. I would have made the trip up from San Antonio just to see The Motet!
They delivered a fiery opening set. Singer Lyle Divinsky was a powerful presence, riding the musical wave with gusto and heart, and the band absolutely blew the roof off (or would have, if Stubb’s had a roof) with their thick, soulful funk.
When they wrapped up at about 9, it was almost hard to believe they were only half of the fun in store. I pity the latecomers who missed the opener tonight! All the while as they played, the people continued cramming into Stubb’s for some Lettuce.
I can’t remember how many times I’ve seen these guys play since I first caught them headlining Bear Creek Music Festival back in 2009, but each time it feels like a landmark event. Lettuce absolutely crushed it from 9:30 all the way through to 12:30, with a smidge of a break in between. The highlights were too numerous to count, but the notable moments certainly include a sprawling Madison Square and an epic The Force. And let’s not overlook Adam Deitch’s wicked drum solo. But without question, the tune that left the biggest mark had to be the encore.
It was late; well past midnight. Lettuce had left the stage to the shouts and screams of a crush of bodies. There are noise ordinances to consider, and the band already slew two dense sets. Would they return for one last tune?
Of course they would. And what better note to end on than a classic? A long-time staple of the greatest Lettuce shows is Curtis Mayfield’s, “Move On Up.” Complete with a soulful interlude showcasing the talents of Nigel Hall, the band closed out the show with a bang.
I swear I must have heard at least five different people humming or whistling that melody as we shuffled out onto the street. It was infectious when Curtis wrote it. It is damn addictive when Lettuce plays it. Full disclosure, I was one of those people. I hummed it all the way to the car, all the while wondering when I would see Lettuce next.
Can you say Lock’n?
Yeah – that’s a whole other story!
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