G. Love & Special Sauce/Ethan Tucker – The House of Blues, West Hollywood, CA 3/22/2014

It’s always great to get the old gang back together.  Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the release of their debut, self-titled album, the three original members of G. Love & Special Sauce are back together to share the music from the album that started it all in its entirety.

The reunited trio of G. Love (vocals/guitar/harmonica), Jeffrey “Houseman” Clemens (drums)  and Jimi “Jazz” Prescott (stand-up bass), who is back with the band after an eight-year absence, made a stop at The House of Blues in West Hollywood, Calif., as part of its West Coast swing.

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Laid back and chill with his cap worn backwards, Love sat front-and-center for the duration of the first set, delivering the band’s genre-defying hip-hop infused blues with a harmonica harnessed around his neck and a guitar in his lap. With 20 years to get acquainted with the album, fans enthusiastically sang along to virtually every song, especially the classic party tunes like “Cold Beverage,” “Baby’s Got Sauce,” and “Fatman.”

From the first groovy beats delivered by Houseman on “The Things I Used to Do” to open the show, to the last bluesy note delivered by Love’s guitar on “I Love You” to close the set, the band kept the pace moving, yet gave each song its due respect without making it feel rushed.  After a short break, Love and company returned for a mini-second set that featured several songs from the band’s upcoming album Sugar, due out April 22. Where the first set was a nostalgic look back, the second set was a look ahead and a showcase of the band’s progression over the last two decades.

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The band did, however, throw in a couple of earlier tunes to the mix, including the fan-favorite “I-76,” the song that introduced music fans to the landscape of Philadelphia and how to traverse the City of Brotherly Love pre Google Maps. Love showed off his marketing savvy, too, by branding his own BBQ Special Sauce. Product was placed discretely on stage on top of a speaker stack, as well as available for purchase at the merch table. However, a couple lucky fans walked out with a complimentary bottle when Love tossed the display items to fans in the crowd at the end of the show. Yeah, “Baby’s Got Sauce” indeed.

Solo artist Ethan Tucker opened the night with an acoustic set of bluesy folk music. If Tucker’s statuesque physique doesn’t command your attention, his soulful voice will. Despite being the only performer on stage and remaining in one spot throughout the set, the barefoot performer tucker draws you in with his voice and music and not a flashy stage show.

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Setlist

Set 1

The Things That I Used to Do

Blues Music

Garbage Man

Eyes Have Miles

Baby’s Got Sauce

Rhyme For the Summertime

Cold Beverage

Fatman

This Ain’t Living

Walk to Slide

Shooting Hoops

Some People Like That

Town to Town

I Love You

Set 2

Nothing Quite Like Home

Nite Life

Sugar

Who’s Got the Weed

Missing My Baby

I-76

Weekend Dance

Photos by Scott Sheff

 

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