Lettuce played two nights at the Brooklyn Bowl this past weekend, ushering the new year with plenty of funky jams and exquisite improv. With two sets played each night, the group settled in and explored each song to the fullest while the Brooklyn crowd bopped around into the early morning.
There’s not enough that can be said about Lettuce, the collective of top-tier musicians who have been playing together now for 23 years. The chemistry between them is up there with the best bands in the world, and their ever-evolving sound has been an absolute pleasure to watch over the years. Nowadays there’s more equipment on stage, a kick-ass lighting designer, and a seriously fat catalogue for the band to play around with. Over the course of four lengthy sets, the group did no repeats and played every song off their new album Crush.
With plenty of climaxes over the course of the two nights, we wanted to highlight our absolutely favorite moments of each set…
Night 1, Set 1
Lettuce’s J Dilla tribute, the aptly titled “Mr. Yancey,” made its way into the latter half of this set. Lettuce is best known as a funk band, but I’m an absolute sucker for when they play the more hip hop-leaning grooves. The recorded version of this track barely hits the 3-minute mark, but when they jam on it live, it could go for 30 minutes for all I care. It’s an incredible tribute to one of the band’s biggest non-funk influences, and it rides.
Night 1, Set 2
I forget which song this was during, but it was one of the first few songs of the set. Maybe it was “Play” or “By Any Shmeeans.” At any rate, at one point early on in the set, Krasno and Shmeeans locked in a serious way, and pulled off this duet with each other that is a testament not only to their musicianship, but their chemistry off the stage. Shmeeans recently told us the story of when he met Krasno over two decades ago, and it’s clear that these dudes can speak to eachother through their guitars.
Night 2, Set 1
I live in New York and thus usually get to see Eric Krasno play with Lettuce. When they kick into “Relax,” it’s more apparent than ever of the role this guy plays in the band. Not that Lettuce isn’t worth seeing without Kraz, but his heartfelt way of playing the guitar is something that brings goosebumps and smiles to many. He took us on a ride during his solo on “Relax” the other night.
Night 2, Set 2
Honestly the entire finale set was a highlight in and of itself. “Trillogy” is a fiery new track from Crush, and you can tell the band really enjoys toying with the hip hop elements in the live setting. Alecia Chakour and Nigel Hall were both on stage towards the end to bring vocals to the mostly instrumental showcase. The “Do It Like You Do” encore had the late-night crowd absolutely buggin’ out. It was an exclamation point on an absolutely huge two-show celebration of 2016.
January 1 Setlists
January 2 Setlists