The Funky Meters
With King Bee
Revolution Live, Fort Lauderdale
Friday, April 16, 2010
There was something in the air outside Revolution Live on Friday night. A steady drizzle mixed with the aroma of boiled crawfish provided by Fort Lauderdale's Shuck 'n Dive reminding me that the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is right around the corner. However, the funk is what hung thickest on this dreary South Florida evening.
Brief history: The Meters were originally formed in 1965 and had a successful 12-year run as pioneers of funk-rock before disbanding in 1977. Another dozen years passed before an informal jam session led to an official reunion in 1989. Due to the shifting lineup, members decided to adopt the moniker "the funky Meters" to better preserve their forefathers.
The half-full room had to be partially due to the Allman Brothers sucking some attendees up to North Florida for the Wanee Festival taking place over the weekend. The Funky Meters would play there on Saturday.
Not to take away from the supreme talent of the legends about to take the stage, but a highlight of the evening presented itself only seconds after entering the building. An additional restroom has been added to this often overcrowded club. Finally, another option to what was the only reprieve, upstairs in the farthest corner of the venue. So long 20-minute epic bathroom journeys!
I unfortunately missed opening act King Bee, who I was impressed with a few years earlier, but I did get there early enough to grab an Abita Amber (fitting New Orleans staple) and catch up with some friends prior to the main attraction.
Fort Lauderdale was blessed to have two founding Meters members present for the night's show, but no one seemed more pleased by this fact than the storied musicians themselves. Bassist George Porter Jr., the only ever-present member, was joined by keyboardist, Art "Papa Funk" Neville, who more-or-less ran the show. Rounding out the foursome was steady funky-era drummer, Russell Batiste Jr. and Art's son, guitarist Ian Neville.
Like a good bowl of gumbo and standard to the funky Meters' shows, the group gave different tastes delivered in one steady groove -- taking the audience through a slew of originals while briefly quoting too many covers to count or name. One of the standout jams was the "Cissy Strut" into Allen Toussaint's "Get out of My Life, Woman" into CSNY's "Love the One You're With." Other funky Meters staples included "Hey Pocky Way," "Afrika," "The World is a Little Under the Weather," and "Love Slip up on Ya" complimented by classic gems like the standard "House of the Rising Sun," Neil Young's "Ohio," and Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Suzie Q" and "Born on the Bayou."
Much more than a nostalgia act, it was great to see the funky Meters get this crowd of all ages movin to the groove. Yet what was even better was seeing 72-year-old Neville doing a little shimmy with his old runnin' partner.
Better Than: Joining the massive crowd of 25,000 at the Wanee Festival in Live Oak on Saturday to get my weekend funk fix.
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Personal Bias: I may not have full Funk Brother status, but I am a huge fan and have visited the great city of New Orleans many times.
By The Way: Members of the Meters have toured and recorded with such talents as The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, David Byrne, Robbie Robertson, Harry Connick Jr., Dr. John, Robert Palmer, Allen Toussaint, and Patti Labelle to name a few.
-- Matt Beck