Vidacovich and Porter
May 22, 2007
BY JASON SONGE
This show was fun for a number of different reasons. I went went with my friend, and since he's a drummer, like me, we elbowed each other when Vidacovich pulled off something unbelievable on the drums, which was often. We walked in a song into the first set, and I swear that the music got better once we sat down and started showing appreciation through nodding heads and stomping feet. Partly that and partly the fact that the duo was still warming up.
Once the duo hit their peak, even Porter couldn't believe how funky it got. He said, "Damn!"
The other reason this show was fun was because I got to watch the two have fun and feed off each other. Their silliness and the joy they took in the music was contagious. I couldn't help but get giddy watching these two legends, each the city's best on their instrument, joke and smile at each other as they worked loose and turned out some sick shit. They marveled at(normally George marveling at Johnny) and pushed each other, seeing how far each could go before falling off the edge, which never happened. These masters of syncopation threw curveballs as they changed the meter of the song and the placement of accents.
Vidacovich could find the beat in anything, even the most nebulous stuff. One measure he was playing straight, the next jazzy, the next straight, the next jazzy. I've never seen a drummer so agile and so spontaneous. He didn't care what cymbal or drum he played the beat on, just as long as he played the beat. Or, maybe I'm discounting his strategy because at the speed he moves, a strategy seems impossible.
The duo moved between Porter and Vidacovich songs for two sets. Porter played one love ballad, which was rare. More likely was the duo jamming on a riff, with or without vocals. Porter sang on mid-tempo songs that moseyed lazy at first, only to lock in and really start to bounce. Johnny was his loveable spoken word self, rapping over the equally mid-tempo beats. That "Jack Shit" rant of his is always my favorite. At one point, later in the set, Porter tried to perform a rap that Vidacovich had performed earlier that night.
This was the highlight of the night, as Vidacovich smiled in admiration and pride and Porter smiled in admiration and embarassment when he flubbed Johnny's lines, which Johnny fed to Porter the whole time. At one point, Porter cracked up laughing when he couldn't get one line out in time, after which the whole room laughed with him(why were there only 30 people there?). He said, "Sorry, Johnny," but I can't imagine Johnny or anyone else in the room faulted him.