Photos by Jim Mimna
25 years ago The Fox Theatre put on the first of many great concerts featuring the legendary godfathers of Funk, The Meters. Last Wednesday history came full circle as The Funky Meters graced the stage once again before a sold-out audience. The Fox has always been one of my favorite rooms for both great sight lines and over all production value, but the most important factor to me in any live music setting the Fox has in spades – first class sound.
The energy in the room was palpable as Analog Son kicked off the night with the perfect opening set to get the audience dancing in anticipation of the headliner to come. Analog Son, a Denver/Boulder based group, are the next big thing in funk’s evolution and obviously a musical love-child inspired by The Meters. They were the perfect primer for what was to come next, proven by the audience who ate their set up, lots of fans found a new must see band.
As George Porter Jr. and the rest of The Funky Meters took the stage, the room erupted with cheers. The current incarnation of the band is bass master George Porter Jr., groove guardian Terrence Houston, axe-man Brian Stoltz, and Art Neville on the keys but due, to illness and by doctors orders, Art’s seat at the keys was filled by the talented John Medeski. George greeted the crowd with his soul melting smile and said “Just like 25 years ago, we are gonna start at the beginning” and fired into a mind-numbing rendition of the first song off The Meters 1969 debut album, “Cissy Strut.” The place instantly went crazy and didn’t stop the rest of the night.
It goes without saying, George Porter Jr. is one of the first innovators of the bass guitar and there is no doubt that he has truly change how the instrument is approached today, and that influence can be found across all genres of music. The bass guitar will never be the same, thanks George! Watching him work his magic in unison with one of the best drummers on the scene today, Terrence Houston, was absolutely thrilling, a memory that I will cherish forever. Art was certainly missed, but Medeski was an animal all night in his stead, playing one of the most passionate sets I have seen him play in a long time. Stoltz’ guitar work was on point all night as he seemed to feed off the energy Medeski was pumping out. The groovy vibe in the room was like a snowball rolling down the mountain ever growing in size and momentum, a musical avalanche called The Funky Meters that crushed the Fox! Long live The Meters, the funkiest legacy the world may ever know.
Check out the links below of audio samples, a taste of the spectacle most of the world missed and the lucky few who witnessed will never forget. (Audio recorded by Mike Bond)