Snarky Puppy charm Fillmore with high-energy funk and special guests
Snarky Puppy continued its 2014 world tour with a stop at the Fillmore Silver Spring on Sept. 26, treating over 1,000 fans to a nearly two-hour set and three special guests.
The nine-piece instrumental fusion group from Brooklyn, New York have been out on the road since June. The band arrived in D.C. for the concert after a tour that included two trips overseas.This time, the band played the DMV area with a slightly different lineup, as bassist and producer Michael League rotates a collection of 40 musicians in and out of the lineup with each tour.
High and Mighty Brass Band opened the show. The funk band, also from Brooklyn, demonstrated their clear New Orleans influence with takes off its 2010 release, “Round I,” which mixes latin percussion with a jazzy horn section and funky guitar riffs. The band played for about 45 minutes and then continued its set acoustically in the middle of the crowd with a few additional songs, including its own take on Jason Derulo’s “Wiggle.”
After High and Mighty Brass Band exited through the crowd, Snarky Puppy wasted little time starting its set. The group opened up the set with “Whitecap,” a synth-led tune off of its 2010 album, “Tell Your Friends.” It then ran through a couple more older tunes, “Skate U” and “Flood,” which allowed keyboardist Shaun Martin and guitarist Mark Lettieri to take extended leads.
The first wow moment of the night came with “Binky,” a well-liked composition off of the band’s 2012 record, “groundUP.” After some nice interplay between League on bass and multi-instrumentalist Justin Stanton on keys, keyboardist Martin took over the reins with an extended synth solo and tease of Parliament’s “We Want the Funk” that left the crowd in a state of frenzy.
After an hour’s worth of play the band turned to some of its newer music with several tracks off of its most recent record, “We Like it Here.” These included the fan-favorite “What About Me?,” the Brazilian-themed “Tio Macaco” and the set-closer “Shofukan.”
Drummer Robert Seawright and percussionist Nate Werth solely held the stage after “Tio Macaco” for a drum solo that highlighted the duo’s tight rhythms and improvisational prowess.
Following a short encore-break during which the crowd continued to belt in unison the outro riff to “Shofukan,” League addressed the room and made clear his happiness to be playing in Silver Spring, a mere 20 minutes from his hometown in northern Virginia. He went on to introduce a special guest and friend of the band, trumpeter Phillip Lassiter. Lassiter, known for his work with Prince, brought out two vocalists who joined him and the band for his original tune “Ego Trippin’,” which featured Lassiter on lead vocals, keys and trumpet.
As Lassiter exited the stage, the band closed out the night with “Sleeper,” a new track that saw Martin take an elongated synth-lead taking the band to a glorious peak and leaving the crowd roaring.