Robert Walter and Stanton Moore


June 22, 2006

I got a lot more rock than I anticipated when I saw organist Robert Walter perform with drummer Stanton Moore at d.b.a. Thursday night.

I shoulda known better to than to expect these groove junkies to turn out some restrained jazz funk. This show was an up-tempo assault. Each song was a foot-stomping, dance-ready, barn burner.

I loved how dramatic the songs were. They just built and built and built until they exploded and, there I was, headbanging. Walter laid down chord-heavy accents and bass with his left hand while Stanton often played monstruous fills like he was drumming for Corrosion of Conformity. He was playing hard and loving every second. A few times Moore yelled out in exaltation when Walter played something cool, but it was actually much harder to get a pulse on Walter than it was to get a pulse on the vibrant Moore. Walter is a great organist, and his heavy hands were perfect for this performance, but Moore's colorful playing was much more fun to watch.

Still, it seemed like Moore often overplayed. Thankfully, he was powerful and so in the pocket that it hurt. Do you know what I mean? When a groove is so tight that your body gets taut, and you can't decide whether you'd rather have an aneurysm or pull on your hair? Maybe that's just me.

Some songs were open to abundant improvisation, but most were well-arranged for maximum pleasure. This wasn't some hootenanny. Walter and Moore had played together before many times, and they came to kick ass, apparently.

The crowd was decent for both sets, but during the second, more people came out to dance and the real party started. Seems like the players loosened up a little, too. They played re-arranged instrumental, hard rockin' funk versions of Led Zeppelin's "Good Times, Bad Times" and Judas Priest's "You Got Another Thing Comin'." Brilliant! They're great musicians, and they also have a sense of humor.

Along with guitarist Will Bernard and saxophonist Skerik, the two will appear on an untitled upcoming album that was recorded at Preservation Hall after the hurricane.

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