Photos by Jon Prins
The Scene: The mood was mellow as I walked up to The Fox. It had been brutally windy earlier in the day and while it continued throughout the night, it wouldn’t matter because things were about to warm up to the tropical temperatures of New Orleans as The funky Meters brought their swamp funk to Boulder. The crowd, as I suspected was older, but there were some young ones scattered here and there. The Tipitina’s shirts that were worn by many fans were a nice and familiar sight and got me revved up for Jazz Fest.
Opener: Hot Soup. Boulder based quintet, Hot Soup, brought their Jazz Rock and funky jams to help get people warmed up for the main event. Lead by guitarist Matt Flaherty, the group blazed through a solid opening set that included a few funk covers to go along with the theme of the night. Hot Soup is one of the better young acts in Colorado. After only four years together, their musical prowess is unlike most of the other younger acts. Check these guys as there are plenty of good things around the bend for this band.
The funky METERS: With a line-up that reads like a “Who’s Who” of New Orleans heavy hitters, George Porter Jr. (Bass), Art Neville (Keys), Brian Stoltz (Guitar) and Russell Batiste (Drums) have been funkifying the masses for over two decades now as The funky Meters. The band does a fabulous job keeping the spirit of The Meters alive and well as they bring those songs, and the sounds of New Orleans, to a new generation.
The performance marked the beginning of The Fox Theater’s 20th Anniversary celebration and while the room wasn’t sold-out, it was damn close. The eager crowd got to shake their bones right away to the instrumentals “Here Comes the Meter Man” and “Message from The Meters” as these songs helped set the tone for the rest of the night. Meters’ classics such as “He Bite Me” and “Look-Ka Py Py” left the audience sweaty and ready for more and the temperature and humidity of the Fox midway through the night could have rivaled that of any New Orleans bar.
Midway through the set, one of the Cresent City’s most celebrated songs, “Hey Pocky Way” was a nice treat. George Porter sang lead on this number while Art Neville led the band on his organ and laid down some great textures for the band to catapult off of. Just when you thought the night couldn’t get any better, the intro of “Cissy Strut” exploded from the PA. Everyone knew the night was just getting better and the dance party kicked into high gear as George Porter led his bands mates through “Jungle Man.” Seeing George belt out this one while grinning ear to ear, is such a tremendous sight. A fierce, fiery, and funky version of the crowd pleasing “Fire on the Bayou” rattled the Fox and showcased Neville’s stellar organ work. After a thunderous ovation the band returned to the stage for an encore of “It Ain’t No Use” and “Change Reform” to the delight of the crowd.
The funky Meters are a group you must see if you are into the funky sounds of New Orleans. This Boulder crowd was grateful to have seen these giants play in such a great room. For me, I felt so blessed to have seen my musical heroes right here in the Rocky Mountains. As we spilled out onto the hill spirits were very high because these cats from New Orleans had showed us how to have a funky good time… Cajun style.
Stage Presence: A
Set/Light Show: B