LIVE: The Funky Meters @ Alive at Five, 7/13/17
Review by Ed Conway
Photographs by Ed Conway, Stan Johnson
New Orleans-based band the Funky Meters have a long and storied history dating back to the ’60s as The Meters. After The Meters’ break-up in the late ’70s, original members Art Neville (vocals/keyboards) and George Porter, Jr. (vocals/bass), along with drummer, Russell Batiste Jr., formed the basis of the Funky Meters at an informal jam at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 1989.
1994 saw the addition of Neville Brothers guitarist Brian Stoltz. After the departure of Stoltz, in 2007, Neville’s son Ian joined the line-up until leaving to spend more time with his own band in 2007. Stoltz rejoined the band full time at this point. The final piece of the current group was added in 2014 with the departure of Batiste and the recruitment of Terrence Houston to carry on the drumming duties.
From the moment they hit the stage until the final notes were hit on their 90-minute show, the band never paused for a minute, with the possible exception of taking a moment to introduce the members of the band to the Alive at Five crowd. Throughout the show, Porter moved constantly around the stage when he wasn’t at the mic. Sometimes he would stand by Neville and at other times by Stoltz, and he was constantly bouncing his head to the groove. At one point, however, everyone stepped aside to allow Houston to take the spotlight for a funky drum solo.
They morphed from one song to another so smoothly, it was sometimes hard to realize they were playing something different. Unfortunately, some of this was caused by the move to the rain venue at the Corning Preserve Boat Launch parking lot, where the sound reverberated under the I-787 bridge.
They played a nice mix of Meters songs including “People Say” and “Cissy Strut,” as well as covers such as Sly & the Family Stone’s “Sing a Simple Song” (which was also covered by the Meters on their self-titled 1969 album).
Local band Wurliday started off the evening of funk in fine fashion with selections from their brand new EP, Bedtime Blazer.
Frankie Cavone’s photographs at NYS Music
UPCOMING: The free Alive at Five concert series at the Corning Preserve’s Jennings Landing in Albany continues at 5pm on Thursday (July 20) with country singer
Lindsay Ell and Local 518 fave Anthony Fallacaro.