SHOW REVIEW: Lettuce Plays 2+ Hours on Beautiful Central Park Day [NYC]
In a scene where most bands are past their prime, Lettuce is a rare exception. With each show, the Brooklyn-based funk outfit seems to dig deeper into their own music, with improvisations becoming spacier, teases growing stronger, and the funk getting, well, funkier.
On an absolutely gorgeous day in New York City, Lettuce made their debut on Central Park’s Summerstage. The Soul Rebels opened up with their own brand of brass-heavy funk under the beaming sun. After a quick set change, the X-piece band took the stage to prove why they are one of the most exciting bands in the jam circuit.
It was through a mix of old and new songs that Lettuce made their case for the best damn funk band on the planet. Even with the absence of Eric Krasno, the band blitzed through cuts like “Blast Off,” “Lettsanity,” “Sam Huff’s Flying Raging Machine” (joined by The Soul Rebels) and “Madison Square” with top-tier musicianship and New York energy. These instrumental funk masterpieces are more than familiar to concert-goers who have seen them perform at festivals like Bear Creek and Lockn, and also locally at venues like Brooklyn Bowl and Le Poisson Rouge.
However, it’s with the new material that Lettuce really shines. Their time as the back-up musicians for Pretty Lights live band tour have paid dividends, as Ryan Zoidis demonstrated with his trippy saxophone effects that turned his instrument into the electro-funk bandleader on multiple occasions.
The group’s jams were top notch, no doubt. Over the course of their near-2.5 hour set, they brought the sound up and down plenty of times, with each moment providing proof that the band was functioning as one organism. Teasing Pink Floyd’s “Have A Cigar” got some of the close-listeners cheering, while guitar solos from Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff provided a more accessible sense of rage.
Nigel Hall, having recently left Nth Power, joined the band for a few cuts at the end, including “Making My Way Back Home” and “Do It Like You Do.” The energy was through the roof as the crowd, who had been dancing for hours in the direct sunlight, grooved for the final minutes of the extraordinary show. With festival gigs at Firefly, Electric Forest, All Good, Gathering of the Vibes, and more, this band is not to be missed.
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