show review: Judah and the Lion – Pritzker Pavilion (7-9-15)

150709 Judah & the Lion - pritzker pavilion: photo by Drumnmike
150709 Judah & the Lion – pritzker pavilion: photo by Drumnmike

Today is Franny’s bday. Happy bday Franny.

After that Edward Sharpe show I was ready for some country or blue grass.  I brought my jug of red wine and bag of peanuts and was ready to finish them both in the hour and a half it took them to start and finish their set.  I had no idea that within 2 songs after introducing Twenty-somethings they were going to sing We built this city (with synchronized dancing and electro drums, then ignition (remix), then lose yourself.  Eventually they brought ‘shark attack’ onto the stage to freestyle rap with one of the members of their band.  Ken was calling for 99 problems but they never played it.

Although the band was a lot more loose, the crowd was a lot more subdued than the Snarky Puppy show.  This could’ve been due to the Taste of Chicago, or the fact they’re not as big as Snarky Puppy, but that’s #truth.

The band had great energy and for being a 6 piece they were having a blast hanging out and playing music together.  The music of country/blue grass/rap and cover songs were an interesting mix but it was clearly something they enjoyed doing.  The songs were something that they enjoyed listening to and thus playing as a band and that enjoyment transferred through with their songs.

Especially after listening to their recorded material they sound like a fairly chilled band, but the live show made them seem more like a pop or rock band that just so happened to have long hair, big beards and banjos.

150709 Judah & the Lion - pritzker pavilion: photo by Drumnmike
150709 Judah & the Lion – pritzker pavilion: photo by Drumnmike

alright i’m going.

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show review:Snarky Puppy – Pritzker Pavilion (Chicago – June 25th, 2015)

150626 - snarky puppy pritzker, dude in front
150626 – snarky puppy pritzker, dude in front: photo credit Drumnmike

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.

150626 - snarky puppy pritzker, the fog engulfs the skyline: photo credit Drumnmike
150626 – snarky puppy pritzker, the fog engulfs the skyline: photo credit Drumnmike

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.

150626 - Foggy Chicago Sky line photo credit Drumnmike
150626 – Foggy Chicago Sky line photo credit Drumnmike