No good conversation in Chicago starts without the weather, so I’ll address that first.
It’s been raining heavily lately, with tornado’s touching down earlier in the week just outside of the city. Some solar storms headed our way and thus the weather has been nuts. There was a major thunderstorm the previous night and the outlook for the the day of the show was not good, with the weather channel calling for rain just before the show started. We arrived around 6:05 (I’m estimating) and found a seat about 20 feet back from the front of the lawn. We brought peanuts and red wine. Obviously. My love for peanuts will soon become apparent.
Shortly after we arrived it started to drizzle. The drizzle continued for 10 minutes, then it was done. I was relieved to not be sitting in a lawn soaked to the bone, with wet peanuts. The rain stayed away for the remainder of the night but as you can see down the post a nice fog moved in, engulfing the buildings in front of us.
At 6:30 they started the show and Third Coast Percussion played what must have been a Steve Reich song, as they played a monotonous, lovely mostly percussive piece for at least 45 minutes. (in time I’ll get on my game with this review thing, I’m sharing my experiences) Members of Snarky Puppy joined them on stage, but as you can see by the above picture, I had a difficult time making anyone out, as this dude started the standing, then slowly throughout the song everyone from different walks of life chose to stand there. Why get the front most spot if you’re going to stand? But anyways.
Snarky Puppy came on and tore it up. I first heard of them through a Drumeo video with their drummer, Larnell Lewis. Shortly after watching this video during a conversation with a good friend he mentioned he’s been listening to them a lot lately. Shortly after that one of my drum students mentioned he’d been listening to them, since they’re playing Millennium Park. I tell ya, you need the young kids around always to help keep you in the loop.
After the first conversation I gave everything they have on spotify a listen. It’s a jazz funk hip hop type of thing, with great musicians whom all have played and continue to play with some bigger names in the music BIZ. Not that you can necessarily hear those influences straight up, but they’re sought after in their own accord. Thus combining them to form a type of supergroup, if you will, they really know what they’re doing. Hearing them on recording is one thing, but to truly experience them in the live setting is a whole new experience. Not just because it’s cool to realize that 20-somethings really enjoy this type of music, but experiencing it live gives a whole new type of movement to the music, which could otherwise be lost in a purely audio setting. Don’t get me wrong, the music still swings on their releases, but experiencing it helps gives another appreciation for it.
They played around an hour and a half, coming back on for an encore (I think it was Lingus?) with 2 of the members wearing Blackhawks jersey’s. The sets continued to be lively, with each member receiving their own time to solo. Being a drummer watching Larnell and their percussionist tear it up on a few occasions were a site to behold. I would’ve loved to see them the previous 2 nights at City Winery, and I could only imagine what type of energy would be happening in such a tight environment, but given the giant space and beauty that is the Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago, they did an excellent job transforming their energy to the crowd.