Review of George Porter Jr. and the Runnin’ Pardners
Live at the 8X10 in Baltimore, 1/29/10
By Bob Adamek
George Porter Jr. has reconstituted his band the Runnin’ Pardners, and they are playing the best that funk has to offer. After some gigs in their native New Orleans, George took his band on the road and the first stop was a two night stand at Baltimore, MD’s 8X10 club. This was an ideal place for their national re-launching. I have seen shows at the 8X10 for three years now and have yet to be disappointed. This is more than your corner bar. I find it to be filled with knowledgeable music fans, eager for the quality acts that Abigail Janssens routinely puts into the small, intimate club.
The band was as tight and funky as any I could hope to see. These players were not only seasoned, it was a treat to watch a band so acutely in tune with each other, listening and reacting to each other, joking and laughing with each other. I think it is this personal element of camaraderie, which bears George Porter Jr’s finger print, that evokes such dedication from his fans. When George is doing a show, he makes you feel as though you were invited over to watch him play with his friends. You can’t escape the feeling that he loves what he is doing and who he is doing it with. I’ve always enjoyed watching him joke with Art Neville on stage, and it is clear he shares the same joy for performing with his handpicked Runnin’ Pardners. He also openly showed admiration for his latest musical discovery, drummer Terrence Houston. Terrence is only in his mid twenties but his age belies a much more mature musician. His time and feel are wonderful and he is a hard grooving player.
George Porter Jr. is musical royalty in New Orleans evidenced by the arrival, during the third or fourth song, of the popular New Orleans’ band Kirk Joseph’s Backyard Groove. Although they were to open for the Runnin’ Pardners the next night, they arrived and sat for the rest of the night, side of stage, admiring the Runnin’ Pardners’ infectious brand of funk.
The night featured a mix of songs from George’s past. Some well known Meters classics such as Cissy Strut and No More Okey Doke along with some less heard Meters songs like Do The Dirt, Funkify Your Life and Out In The Country. There was a nice cover of Neil Young’s Down By The River, and a booty shaking version of Robert Palmer’s Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley, a song which George played on originally. The show was rounded off by other Porter Jr. classics such as I Get High, All I Do Everyday, and the Runnin’ Pardners’ song, Happy Song.
This was a joyful night of music featuring a six piece ensemble including Brint Anderson on guitar, Michael Lemmler on keyboards, Khris Royal on saxophones, Tracy T. Griffin on trumpet and flugelhorn, Terrence Houston on drums, and your host for the evening George Porter Jr. on bass. If you are interested in funk music, dancing or simply a great time in the presence of a band full of veteran musicians really enjoying their craft, check out George Porter Jr. and the Runnin’ Pardners when they come near you. You can find dates on George’s web site www.georgeporterjr.com.