Review: Bonerama and George Porter Jr.

New Orleans music lovers will be quick to point out this is not the first time these musical worlds have collided as Porter’s main focus Porter Batiste Stoltz (PBS) combined forces with BNR on other occasions in New Orleans, Tampa and Denver in 2007. And of course Porter had young up and coming New Orleans trombonist Mark Mullins (BNR band leader) as a driving force in his legendary Runnin’ Parders horn section as early as 1989.

But on this night, Porter’s sense of rhythmic syncopated urgency combined with his impeccable use of space and motif development seemed to spread like a wind driven wildfire throughout BNR. From the hard driving opener of the night Less Is Moore (a BNR original written for Galactic’s Stanton Moore, a frequent BNR guest) to going back to Porter’s roots in the Meters’ Funky Miracle the tone was established, these guys are all here to play and they seem to rely and work off each others spontaneity like an unscripted play that goes so, so right. From there BNR’s Craig Klein drove everyone down St. Charles Avenue east towards Arabi to Shake Your Rugalator, also notably Porter’s introductory solo of the night.

The band eventually handed the reigns over to Mr. Porter for a breathtaking version of Out In The Country, voted by Porter as one of his favorite songs to perform over the last year or two. Mullins then busted open to drop the gears into overdrive with an electric trombone infused hard rockin’ vocal version of Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze. New Orleans traditional music was represented and presented with respect from Paul Barbarin’s Second Line to When My Dreamboat Comes Home. This band even made Fats Domino’s I’m Walkin’ feel like a traditional New Orleans song where of course it is actually in the opening chapters of the birth of Rock and Roll which was written just blocks away from this stage some 50+ years ago.

Bert Cottons’ electric guitar solos were on fire especially on the Runnin’ Pardners classic By Athenish and BNR’s surprising Johnny Cash cover of Folsom Prison Blues. And just when you thought the lips would be blistering and bleeding, Steve Suter and Greg Hicks (trombones) both continued to crank out powerful solos one after another all night long.

A rare BNR performance of Frankenstein capped off this tremendous night with a huge Eric Bolivar drum solo that built into a Porter-jam which inevitably developed into full trombone cavalcade-inspired power-jam. A magical night on a stage full of chemistry and inspiration. Look for Bonerama (BNR) and PBS on Jam Cruise 09.

Bonerama
“Harvest The Music” in Lafayette Square
New Orleans, LA
10/16/2008

Set One: Less Is Moore, Bap Bap, Funky Miracle, Shake Your Rugalator, Out In The Country, Purple Haze, Paul Barbarin’s 2nd Line

Set Two: By Athenish, Cabbage Alley, When My Dreamboat Comes Home, Folsom Prison Blues, I Get High, I¹m Walkin’, Frankenstein

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3 Responses

  1. I was at that show and all I can say is it was over the top. This show should happen more often. George Porter and Bonerama! They go where no other band has gone before. Brass trombones and bass guitar flavored with an electric guitar and drums.

  2. There is nothing like an amazing show for free in the square. And those trombones. Be still my heart. C. puts it best when he says “A rare Bonerama performance of Frankenstein capped off this tremendous night …” I am going as Frankenstein for Halloween, and the Bonerama version of the song is my theme for the night. I just wish Craig would follow me around town with his trombone playing it. Hmmm.

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