Snarky Puppy, led my bass player Michael League, formed in Denton, Texas but are now Brooklyn based. They’ve been playing together for around ten years and have released several albums in that time. They teamed up with Lalah Hathaway to record a song called “Something” and found themselves winning a grammy in 2014 for best R & B performance.
Their set is a showcase of the new album “We Like It Here” with a selection of some of their older material for good measure. Their sound is like a cross between Weather Report and the Sun Ra Arkestra, the music full of key changes, stops and starts and great percussion. The songs are fairly long, as the band are given to letting individual members solo, and with such adept musicians who could prevent them from showcasing their skills. Drummer Robert “Sput” Searight was particulalry impressive, holding the songs together and driving the momentum of the band with his energetic drum licks.
My only criticsm is that they’re technically proficient to a man but they’re just not funky in contrast to a band like The Apples who are stone cold James Brown funky. Perhaps that’s not the intention and they are going for a more high brow sound. However, high brow doesn’t have to mean straight laced and it sometimes felt like it was an exercise in musicality for the sake of it. Listen to Miles Davies and the band he assembled for “Bitches Brew” to hear a phenomenal combination of musicianship and great music.
What they do play goes down really well and they clearly enjoy what they do. A good gig but not a funky dance-athon.