After a few years spent pursuing other projects, the members of Lettuce finally regrouped for a two-night stand at Sullivan Hall in support of RAGE! which will be released April 22. (Note to all funk fans: Buy this album; it’s outstanding.) In front of a packed, rowdy house, the band delivered everything their fans have come to expect: high-energy, in-your-face funk conveyed with superior musicianship.
Following a middling performance by the opening band, Rustic Overtones (sort of a less emphatic Mighty Mighty Bosstones), Lettuce took the stage and burned through a 2-hour set that highlighted the forthcoming album but left plenty of room for older tunes from 2001’s Outta Here. Also sprinkled in were a few classic soul gems, including the Impressions’ “We’re a Winner” and Curtis Mayfield’s “Move on Up” (a version of which appears on RAGE!, both featuring jazz-soul singer Nigel Hall, who also provided vocals for the Funkadelic-inspired “Make My Way Back Home.”
Near the end of the show, the band laid down the stuttering beats of “Mr. Yancey,” a fitting tribute to the late producer and rapper J Dilla (whose real name was James Yancey). On the whole, another excellent performance from Lettuce, who proved that, when they actually get together to play, they’re probably the funkiest band out there.
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