Reviews > Shows
Little Feat at the Blue Ocean Music Hall
Blue Ocean Music Hall
Little Feat stepped into the almost sterile environment of the still-new Blue Ocean Music Hall in the beachside town of Salisbury, MA and muddied things up with their unique blend of boogie-woogie, R&B, rock, blues, jazz and psychedelia. The two-hour set kicked off with the mellow groove of “Callin’ the Children Home,” and Little Feat kept things on the laid back side with “Red Streamliner.”
However, lest anyone in the audience fear the whole evening would only showcase the easy-does-it side of Little Feat, the band then launched into the trippy jazz fusion of “Voodoo Jam,” with lead guitarist Fred Tackett blowing some spaced-out trumpet that wouldn’t have sounded out of place in the Sun Ra Arkestra.
Other highlights of the earlier part of Little Feat’s set included the swamp blues of “Mellow Down Easy,” which despite its name featured some deep blues growling from percussionist Sam Clayton, and a cover of the southern-fried Dead staple “Tennessee Jed” which did the original proud while still adding unmistakable Little Feat texture.
Saying the highlight of a Little Feat show is “Dixie Chicken” is kind of like saying the best song at a Stones concert is “Satisfaction,” but the fact remains that Little Feat’s sojourn into their 1973 signature hit was the high point of the evening. The band played the song at a slower, funkier tempo than the studio version, and after several minutes segued first into a bass solo that saw everyone except drummer Gabe Ford and bassist Kenny Gradney leave the stage so Ford could lay down a beat for Gradney to perform some serious picking and slapping over. Gradney then switched places offstage with keyboardist Bill Payne, who jammed out like Fats Domino after a ride on Ken Kesey’s Furthur bus. The full band then reclaimed the stage to conclude a truly satisfying take on what could have been a rote performance of an old favorite.
In addition to demonstrating his trumpet skills, Tackett also showed a flair for the mandolin on the next three songs: “New Dehli Freight Train,” the Lowell George classic “Willin,” and “Church Fallin’ Down.” The mandolin added a nice folksy touch to the proceedings, and “Willin” veered into a short interlude of “Don’t Bogart That Joint” that included a mock apology from rhythm guitarist/vocalist Bill Payne, who told the mother of a young child in the crowd “you can explain what this song means when he’s older.”
Little Feat closed the set on a lively note with what is probably their biggest hit of the post-George era, “Representing the Mambo,” and then encored with another fast-paced 1980s tune, “Let It Roll.”
Eager for the evening to continue, many in the audience stuck around after the encore to see if any more music was coming, but the roadies began disassembling the band’s gear and the house lights came up, and that was it. The crowd was left wanting more, which ultimately is the hallmark of a good performance.
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