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Review 09/04/97 From: Mike Theiss
I've been too busy to write until now, but Maceo came to the Showbox here in Seattle last Thursday (September 4th,1997) and tore the roof off the sucker [from rec.music.funky] : On thing that was really good about the show was it was in a club with a dance floor!!!!! In the past, Maceo has usually played at a jazz club here for 5-6 night stretches. The result is all the broke funk fans go on different nights so the audience is 98% pseudo-jazz-likin'-overpriced-dinner-eatin' yuppies and 2% funky people stuck at a table with not nearly enough room to get down. But this time he played at the Showbox, so all the funky people in Seattle came out to get down. (Seriously, almost everybody I know was at this show!!!) On the downside... the ever-so-brief leg of Maceo's tour featuring funky trombonist and fellow JB and P-Funk alum Fred Wesley apparently rapped up just before he made it to Seattle, so the band was boneless. But on the upside, Maceo brought another funky JB alum with him. (more in a bit) The lineup went a little something like this: Maceo (of course) -- alto saxophone and FLUTE Ron Dooley (sp?) -- trumpet Jamal Thomas -- drums Bruno Tittalia / Speight -- guitar William Boulvare -- organ Jerry Preston -- bass and SWEET CHARLES SHERELL on percussion and background vocals The band minus Maceo kicked off the show with a little jam, after about 5 minutes or so Maceo hit the stage and got the party started with a BANG!!! When he came out the band rapped up the song they were playing and Maceo came out and counted of an uptempo number (which I don't believe has been released on any sort of recording, but it's very funky, even if I don't know the title). They played the head once through, an extremely catchy lick, than Maceo jumped in and went off blowing like only he can. Pure energy! His set was pretty different than the last time I saw him, which was a good thing cause I hadn't seen him in about 2 years, but the shows I saw over the year before the last time I saw him were pretty similar. He's added a few new originals and covers to his set. One of my favorite additions was a performance of Sly's "Sing A Simple Song" which absolutely KICKED BUTT!!!! Also this core band has been playing together for a few years now and they really interact beautifully. I noticed that "Pass The Peas" had a great arrangment -- they added some bluesy alternate changes to the part where William Boulvare took an organ solo that were really tight. They played a really funny interpretation of "Make It Funky" on which the horns played all the notes from the main line stacatto!!! I think it sounded funnier than it did funkier, but a little variety can't hurt anyone. I don't know anything about the trumpet player, though I think his name is Ron Dooley (or that's the best I could get from hearing Maceo announce it anyway). He sounded great though. My complaint is however, that the combination of trumpet and alto for a horn section is a little bit thin, no matter how you slice it. It would sure be great to get a trombone or a tenor in there to add a little bottom, but for what it was it was great. OOOPSSS!!! Almost forgot, Maceo's son -- (Corry Parker??) was there rapping too. Sorry to say, in my opinion he subtracted from the show more than he added. (Maceo must have caught the "put-the-offspring-onstage" syndrome from George Clinton). His rhymes sound like they would have worked better a few years ago. I don't think a rapper of any sort really fits in with Maceo's band, but doing my best to put that aside, Corry's rhymes' were fairly weak and cheesy, regardless. He especially took away from "Let's Get It On" which Maceo centered around the rap instead of having the vocals or sax melody at the beginning of the song. Also -- and I think this goes along with the better choice of venue, this show was the first time I've seen Maceo do an encore. I didn't think he did encores, cause I did see him in Boston a few years ago in a similar club setting and the croud clapped and stomped for several minutes after they left, but the band never returned. But last Thursday, Maceo entertained the crowds request and came out and played another 40 or so minutes!!! It almost seemed he planned it, cause it was the tightest part of the set! When he came out he did "Gotta Getcha" followed by a HEAVY take on "Cold Sweat" in a medley with "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag" which Sweet Charles Sherell sang lead on (Charles also performed "Knock On Wood" earlier in the show. He looked super funky with shades and a big afro, and even demonstrated some martial arts for us briefly!) After "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag" was "Soul Power" and then the cheesy rap version of "Let's Get It On" Other miscelaneous notes before I go get some grub: Maceo said he wanted to welcome everybody to the "Ooooh Yeah Show" which I guess came from the long "ooooh yeah" chant during "Pass The Peas". At one point in the show Maceo got the audience chanting "Bootsy!!! We Want Bootsy!!!!" I knew it would be way to good to be true for the star studded rock star doll to actually come out. But instead Maceo asked Jerry Preston to "play like Bootsy". He didn't really sound much like Bootsy, but he sounded funky anyway. Also on the P-Funk tip, Maceo had the crowd chant "Up For The Downstroke". Overall though -- the show was a funky good time -- even if the days of Maceo touring with Fred and PeeWee are remembered fondly. Also -- the show clocked in at over 3 and a half hours -- which is a P-funk length show!!!! That's not even counting the 45 minute set by the local jazz/funk outfit "The Sharpshooters" who had a pretty funky set themselves doing some original instrumentals and a nice cover of Freddie Hubbard's "Red Clay" (and one other really funky cover I recognized but don't know the title of). I've gotta say they're drummer was in the pocket too, which is always good to have the foundation laid down straight! Well anyway, I gotta go now. OK BYE!!!