Photos by Jim Mimna
The Scene: The Ogden Theatre was buzzing with excitement last Friday in honor of the legendary Meter Men (three of the original Meters plus Page McConnell from Phish). Upon entering the venue, I expected lines of people varying in ages: perhaps a younger Phish crowd coming to support the illustrious Page McConnell paired with the older demographic one would assume to be gettin’ down with grooves from the 70’s. So how was the scene? Relatively short lines at the ticket office, entrance, and main bar. An older crowd sporting plain tees and cargo shorts—nothing too fancy. Just those who showed up for the funk and stayed for…well, the funk. People continued to pile in as the opener, West Water Outlaws, belted out their rock-influenced melodies and while you didn’t see too much pushing and shoving here, you definitely got close with your neighbor. Overall, the crowd was alive and eager to see the New Orleans legends bust out some hits, and the bonus of McConnell on the keys added a whole new element of electricity to the night.
Opener: West Water Outlaws. This was my first time seeing Boulder, CO’s West Water Outlaws and it definitely won’t be the last. The initial response from many females in the audience was, “They all have longer hair than me. That’s impressive,” but once lead singer/guitarist Blake Rooker started singing, the ladies were silent and awe struck. The guys of West Water Outlaws really got the crowd moving with their Southern Rock sound and classic vinyl style. Think Gary Clark Jr. meets The Doors or Led Zeppelin. They truly captured the authenticity of the Blues with the grittiness of Rock. If this genre tickles your fancy, be sure to check out their 2012 album, Real Killer.
The Meter Men: I had never seen The Meters before, but I had seen Page McConnell play with his fellow Phish members and was very interested to see him in a different element. After the long break, The Meter Men graced us with their presence: Leo Nocentelli on guitar, George Porter Jr. on bass, and Zigaboo Modeliste on drums. Page McConnell walked towards his keys and the crowd went wild.
The music started with the familiar “Fire on the Bayou” and the crowd eased into a sing-a-long. It was the harmonies that had the crowd grinning from ear to ear, bobbing back and forth, but it was the guitar riffs that had people leaping for joy. People chanting, “Leo!” could be heard regularly from the floor. More “Meters” classics followed: “Cissy Strut/Cardova Medley” and “Look-a Py Py.” The men of The Meters haven’t lost their range one bit and that Seventies Funk was alive and well. McConnell was a great addition to this dynamic group however I was expecting a little more pushing of the envelope. “He Bite Me” and “Hey Pocky Way” were great anchors for the first set, but I eagerly awaited a Phish cover.
My spirits were lifted once the second set began with “The Hand Clapping Song,” a personal favorite. The crowd was singing and, of course, clapping along to what was probably the most boogylicious song of the night. “Ain’t No Use” was next to close out the set before the guys returned and served up “People Say” as the encore. All in all it was a Meters show and, while I appreciated that, I could understand how some of the concert goer’s felt a little dissatisfaction. Page McConnell was indeed on that bill, but it was purely for a jam session with the legendary Meter Men performing their greatest hits.
Stage Presence: A-
Set/Light Show: B