PBS and The Funkmasters

Howlin' Wolf

April 29, 2007

BY JASON SONGE


I'm starting to think George Porter has something to do with the airtight funkiness of bands like the Meters and PBS. On Sunday night at the Howlin' Wolf, PBS opened up for The Funkmasters(Ivan Neville, Bernie Worrell, Henry Butler, Tony Hall, Leo Nocentelli, Russell Batiste, Skerik, Porter, and Raymond Weber).

PBS played some of the most driving and rock-oriented funk around. They're so locked in with one another that it's almost telepathic. They don't have to say a word to change directions on a whim. I have to give Russell Batiste most of the credit for this. He's a great bandleader, a role that, judging by his passionate vocals and outgoing persona, he obviously relishes.

Once PBS finished their 90 minute set, The Funkmasters hit the stage. They were the second funkiest thing I've seen--the first funkiest being the Meters in 2005. Two basses and two drummers going at the same time, along with a horn section, Nocentelli, Worrell, and even Neville at points? It was wonderfully too much. There was so much low end that it was like a maelstrom of nasty.

Ian Neville and Kevin O'Day also joined the fray at points. The good will from the musicians having a blast playing old Meters and Parliament/Funkadelic tunes transferred to the audience, who seemed stunned by the music as they left after the first and second sets.


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