Dweezil Zappa Returns To Richmond
It is truly always a pleasure to witness Dweezil Zappa and his band do their thing. It seems like I have come a long way since my first experience about five years ago. Dweezil has only gotten better with time and you can tell, he is constantly practicing his craft. I’m still a huge Frank Zappa advocate and fan. I’m glad to see the Zappa Family Trust business is being put to rest for the time being and I hope that the family can move forward from those negative experiences. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the Bizarre World of Frank Zappa Tour but if it comes around again, I will do my best to see it. In the meantime, I am very content just seeing Dweezil and reminiscing about the times when I truly needed Frank Zappa in my life.
With the new additions to his band, Dweezil is pushing the envelope and trying different things and even songs that have never even been played live by Frank himself. Starting off with a live rendition of ‘Hot Rats’, The band would play every song on the album which was released 50 years ago. This is truly one of the great works of Frank Zappa and it was amazing to see songs like “Peaches En Regalia,” “Wilie The Pimp,” and “Little Umbrella’s” take form and come to life onstage. The rest of the show would include one of my favorite songs, “Carolina Hard-Core Ecstasy” and some witty banter between the bandmates with a special sit-in from the Pudding man himself, Bill Cosby. Outside of The National, I saw an older African-American eagerly laughing at his phone while watching none other than, The Bill Cosby show. Talk about coincidences.
I will continue to see Dweezil Zappa whenever he comes around and encourage all of you to at least check out one of his shows and give it a shot. Dweezill is a phenomenal guitar player and that is just a fact. I will add a video below that shows some of his prowess. I still can’t get enough of Frank Zappa’s music; I don’t listen to it all the time but when I do, I’m always taken back to the first time I heard “Inca Roads” and my life was changed forever.
Snarky Puppy- (An Evolution Of Music)
I’m not sure exactly where to begin this review so, I’ll just start here: This band takes live music to the next level. Music evolves much like humanity itself. Music is a driving force in culture and the human experience. Snarky Puppy has found a way to transmogrify this experience into something greater than anything I have ever seen. Taking cues from many distinct genres and blending them together is what makes American music so important and diverse; an ever changing flow of musical creativity. The evolution of music can be seen from rhythmic structures of Africa, into Jazz and these genres shift into Blues, Rock ‘N’ Roll, Funk, Hip-Hop and various types of music blend together to form new genres. Music is in a constant state of evolution.
Anyway, most of you already know this but Snarky Puppy has taken this evolution and spun it on its head. I have not seen such musicianship in many years. While I’m not that well versed with their song catalog, it really doesn’t matter. The variety of the music itself keeps the audience on edge and in anticipation. I have been to tons of shows at The National and I don’t see the need to comment on the venue itself. If you’ve been there, you know I’m talking about, if not, then I’m sure you’ve been to a venue much the same. The sound is decent but it was a little packed. The opening band, I can’t even recall their name, began with a strange yell of some sort. The act was highly experimental, artsy and not my thing. Snarky Puppy however, totally my thing and they immediately seemed to shatter all perception I had of their live performance. Members of this current band for the evening included: of course, band leader and bassist, Michael League, Bobby Sparks on whammy keyboard, Justin Stanton on keyboard/Trumpet, Shaun Martin on keyboard and a wonderful violinist, Zach Brock, which added quite a different sound than I have seen from their live videos. I was highly impressed with every single one of the musician’s performances.
Snarky Puppy has built the perfect combination of raw talent improvisation and striking classical compositions. Their live shows reflect their albums and their live performance exceeded all my expectations. This surely won’t be the last Snarky Puppy show that I attend so; I’ll leave some for the next review. Until then, if you have the opportunity, go see this band perform.
WARNING: The views and opinions expressed on this site may not be in conjecture with your own. Be Advised
Editor: Robert (R.A.) Fadley
Freelance Writer, Musicologist, Music Journalist, Music Critic, Music Writer, Author, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Composer, Guitarist.