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Beats Antique, Lettuce join forces at Club Nokia to bring electronica and funk together for one night

Beats Antique


Beats Antique

By Josh Herwitt //

Beats Antique, Lettuce with Lafa Taylor //
Club Nokia – Los Angeles
February 12th, 2015 //

It’s not often that you see a modern funk band sharing the stage with an electronic music act on the same night, let alone a weekend night in LA.

For that reason, it was hard to deny when last Friday’s co-headline show featuring Lettuce and Beats Antique was first announced that it felt like somewhat of an odd pairing between two well-established groups that have made their mark in very different ways. While Lettuce have inevitably cultivated jam-band fans with their tie to funk/jazz trio Soulive (keyboardist Neal Evans and guitarist Eric Krasno are members of both groups), Beats Antique have built their own unique audience, one that frequents Burning Man, Lightning in a Bottle and other “transformational” events put on by The Do LaB.

Lettuce


Lettuce with Nigel Hall

But if there’s one constant running through both bands’ music, it’s their ability to make their fans move. Sure, funk might not be what’s trendy among mainstream music fans these days, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a group of musicians cooking up a better batch of funk than Lettuce. If anything, the No. 1 position on Billboard‘s U.S. Jazz Albums chart that their fourth studio album Crush earned firmly stamps the band’s place in today’s music scene. And even with Lettuce performing sans Krasno — to some fans’ dismay — on this night, the collective threw down one groove after another, as bassist Erick “Jesus” Coomes and drummer Adam Deitch laid the foundation for Adam Smirnoff’s guitar licks or the band’s three-piece horns section to take center stage. That, of course, was all before Nigel Hall stepped onstage and grabbed the mic for the group’s final songs, letting it all hang out during a cover of Earth, Wind and Fire’s “Gratitude” in memory of the late Maurice White, who passed away earlier this month at the age of 74.

When it came time for Beats Antique to join the party, the Oakland-based trio quickly made its presence known, as multi-instrumentalist David Satori, drummer Tommy “Sidecar” Cappel and belly dancer Zoe Jakes often do, with a performance that makes you feel like you’re at the circus or at the very least, a psychedelic-inspired carnival. Pair that with their own take on neo-gypsy electronica and tribal fusion dance, and you get the whole experience of a Beats Antique show. Jakes started off the set by riding a stationary bicycle high above the ground and eventually grabbed ahold of a bass drum for the group’s ensuing song, pounding away with both arms as if she were leading her own marching band onstage. Joined by frequent guest musician Sylvain Carton (baritone sax, clarinet), Beats Antique dove deep into their catalog, one that’s starting to near the 10-year mark believe it or not.

Beats Antique


Beats Antique

The highlight of the night, though, was no doubt the encore, which saw Deitch and Lettuce’s horns section jump back onstage for a couple more tunes. It didn’t take long for the highly sought-after Deitch — the Berklee College of Music graduate who has also produced hip-hop tracks with 50 Cent, Redman, Talib Kweli and Xzibit and now splits his time between Lettuce, Pretty Lights and Break Science, the latter being the Brooklyn electro/hip-hop/soul duo he formed with keyboardist/producer Borahm Lee in 2009 (read one of our show reviews here) — and Cappel to capture some of the spotlight, as the two drummers battled it out on the skins while exchanging a few smiles and laughs along the way. As surprising as it was to see these two bands teaming up for the very first time, it was a special moment for the fans who stuck around until the early-morning hours, one that they will likely not forget.

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