A Winter Circle Production
1200 Canal St
New Orleans, LA, 70112
Doors 9:00 PM / Show 10:00 PM
This event is all ages
For more than two decades, Lettuce have brought a new vitality to classic funk,matching their smooth and soulful grooves with a hip-hop-inspired urgency and mastery of beat. Now, on their fourth studio album Crush, drummer Adam Deitch, guitarists Adam Smirnoff and Eric Krasno, bassist Erick “Jesus” Coomes, keyboardist Neal Evans, saxophonist Ryan Zoidis, and trumpet players Eric Bloom and Rashawn Ross deepen that sound by channeling the sonic freedom and infectious energy of their incendiary live show.
Produced by Lettuce and Co-Produced recorded/mixed by Joel Hamilton at Brooklyn’s Studio G, Crush first came to life on the road, with the band developing new material and testing it out live as they toured. “We’ve all noticed that our music goes into a lot of different directions onstage, and we wanted to capture that in a way that we never really have before,” says Coomes, who names classic psychedelia and ‘90s hip-hop among Lettuce’s key inspirations on Crush. “It’s definitely more wide-open in terms style, but it still stays true to the funk.”
The follow-up to 2012’s Fly, Crush finds Lettuce brilliantly infusing their psychedelic and hip-hop sensibilities into bass-heavy funk. With its spidery guitar work and hypnotic beats, “Phyllis” is a delicately sprawling epic that embodies what Deitch refers to as “a chill-hop vibe that’s kind of the flip-side of all that powerful uptempo funk that people might expect from us.” On “Get Greasy,” Lettuce give a nod to the groove-fueled EDM subgenre known as future funk, building off its highly danceable rhythm with a blissfully loose and horn-laced arrangement. And on “He Made a Woman Out of Me,” guest vocalist Alecia Chakour lends her bluesy growl to a scorching take on Bobbie Gentry’s 1970 country-soul classic.
Whether paying homage to Led Zeppelin on the fiery and guitar-driven “Silverdome” or delivering a deeply riveting and richly textured hip-hop medley with “Oresteia,” Lettuce maneuver through Crush’s kaleidoscopic sound with sophisticated ease and powerful synergy. “More so than any of the records we’ve done before, this album is very much about the improvised grooves and improvised solos,” says Krasno. “Instead of going at it like, ‘Here’s a melody, now here’s a guitar solo, here’s another melody, here’s a sax solo,’ everyone’s leaning on each other in a way that’s completely unspoken. It’s all of us moving as one unit and creating this new sound together.”
According to Lettuce, that sense of unity and togetherness has much to do with a camaraderie that’s only intensified over the lifespan of the band. Formed in 1992, when several band members attended a summer program at Boston’s Berklee College of Music as teenagers, Lettuce was founded on a shared love of legendary funk artists like Earth, Wind & Fire and Tower of Power. After returning to Berklee as undergrads in 1994, Lettuce started playing in local clubs and steadily built up a following that soon extended to cities across the country and then throughout the world. Releasing their studio debut Outta Here in 2002 and its follow-up album Rage!in 2009, the band dedicated the coming years to balancing their frequent touring with involvement in a host of other musical endeavors (including Evans and Krasno’s role as founding members of acclaimed soul/jazz trio Soulive).
In recent years, Lettuce have watched their fanbase expand as they’ve hit bigger and bigger stages and earned their name as a can’t-miss festival act. And in making Crush, the band had no trouble harnessing the spirit of their explosive live show. “Some of these shows we’ve played over the past couple years have been so amazing, it’s like you go home a different person,” says Coomes. “I’m sure remembering those moments in our minds and our hearts helped bring out something special when we were recording these new songs.”
So while Crush offers everything from all-out party jams to headphone-ready journeys into space funk, each track was born from an unabashed joy and love of live performance. “That energy we get when it’s prime time and we’re about to go onstage and we’re just excited beyond belief—that all came out on this new album,” says Deitch. “There’s a feeling that the band is rising, and it’s a really beautiful thing.”
The future of funk is clear on The Motet's new self-released studio album, Totem, which hits streets July 8, 2016. The 12 tracks on Totem, all originals, cover a lot of ground stylistically while never losing sight of the groove. Produced by Lettuce and Soulive guitarist Eric Krasno, Totem was written collectively by the seven members of the band. Each song is steeped in The Motet's signature style that slaps you in the face with sounds that are fresh and unique.
The recent addition of singer Lyle Divinsky, who joined the band in early 2016, fans the flames of this already hot band. His sinfully soulful voice and rich lyrics are powerfully prevalent throughout Totem. "There was a month and a half between the time I joined the band and when we went into the studio," explains Divinsky. "I wound up writing the lyrics and melodies to four songs, and re-wrote the lyrics to two. It gave me and the band an opportunity to really connect musically. We're deeply proud of this album and it's very exciting to have this new material to push out as we begin this next phase of The Motet's journey."
The brilliance of The Motet is that they do not mimic bands of the past, but rather create new, authentic sounds in a language from the past. One might explain the difference like the process of writing a poem in Old English or Aramaic: first, you have to learn the language by digging into the past, then you can express yourself in the present - and say anything you want - using that language.
No matter how you choose to express funk, you can't fake it - and you sure as hell can't play it - if you don't know where to find it.
Just how did The Motet find the funk? Simply put, they dissected it. "We have put together funk-themed Halloween shows for the past fifteen years, where we pay tribute to a particular artist or play a 'Mixtape' set of music culled from a certain year," shares Dave Watts.
Past Halloween cover sets have included tributes to Herbie Hancock, Earth, Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Parliament-Funkadelic and many others. Recent tribute shows have celebrated a particular year in music, with 'Mixtape' sets from 1975, 1977, and 1980. "Preparing for these shows are intense, and we take it very seriously. Each year it gives us an incredible opportunity to not just learn, but to understand, the art of funk – both as individual players and as a band." These shows, which have become a beloved live music tradition and sell out each year, have also offered a unique (and rowdy) opportunity for the band's fans to join them in their ongoing exploration of creative, live dance music.
The Motet began in 1998 in Denver, Colorado, where the band's then-rotating cast of musicians amassed an enthusiastic and loyal throng of hometown fans. The Motet took their infectious dance parties on the road about three years ago, and their national fan base has been growing exponentially ever since. Today their shows sell out from coast to coast at such venues as Red Rock's Amphitheatre, Brooklyn Bowl, Chicago's Park West, The Independent in San Francisco, Tipitina's in New Orleans, Portland's Crystal Ballroom, and Variety Playhouse in Atlanta. A favorite along the festival circuit, The Motet has performed at Electric Forest, Summer Camp, All Good Music Festival, High Sierra Music Festival, Bonnoroo, Peach Fest and many others.
The Motet are Lyle Divinsky (vocals), Dave Watts (drums), Joey Porter (keyboards), Garrett Sayers (bass), Ryan Jalbert (guitar), Gabriel Mervine (trumpet), and Drew Sayers (saxophone).
$32.50 - $45.00