Groove Butcher – with G. Love & Special Sauce at The Middle East Cafe – Review

Groove Butcher

with G. Love & Special Sauce at The Middle East cafe
by Scott Hefflon
photo by John Emhert

We walk in during G. Love & Special Sauce. They groove, they’re hip, I like them. The guitarist/singer’s buttcheeks dance on the chair, threatening to take a spill at any moment. Totally smooth funk like the Chilis on a chill trip. The drummer sings along, giggles a fill every now and again, and smiles a lot. The dude with the stand-up bass doesn’t look like he knows he’s there. He’s thumpin’ away like a bad ass, but he’s in space. Those three got a great groove. They finish, we clap, we order more drinks, time passes.

Jake the Puppet Guy does the introduction for the almighty Groove Butcher. At least, I think it was Jake. It was some guy with puppets. Probably Jake. I think he introduced the band. I couldn’t tell what he was saying, sometimes I can’t tell what I’m saying. I couldn’t understand him. I had beer plugs by this point. Then Groove Butcher took the stage.

Suddenly, a wave of adrenaline soaked the crowd. They started to bounce. The packed crowd bopped and smiled and bounced ’til I thought the floor would collapse. It took a verse to realize the song was “Heart of Glass.” Blondie. Cool. Never heard it quite that fast and maniacal before.

Chris, the singer, is a madman. His arms and legs seem to have minds of their own. He’s jerkin’ all over the place like an epileptic seizure victim. His facial contortions alone are worth the price of admission. It makes you stare in the mirror in the privacy of your own home to see if you too can make faces like that. You can’t. He’s a professional.

The guitarist doesn’t seem to have bones in his wrist. His right hand was just a blur “strumming” non-stop all night. (Makes you wonder about that “privacy of your own…” Never mind.) His fashion was happ’nin’, too. I could picture him in huge, fuzzy animal slippers. Big fluffy cows or pigs or something. Didn’t sing much, didn’t really smile much, just rocked back and forth and ground a few picks into dust. The drummer was somewhere behind his kit. You couldn’t see him, but he raged like a speed addict demon on them there drums. The bassist was way on the other side of the stage, and there were too many people enjoying themselves in my line of vision. I heard he’s a swell guy and jumps around alot onstage, but I didn’t see him.

Descriptions and comparisons are near impossible. They’re unique. They have a sound one hears and what can one say but Groove Butcher. (A paraphrase from Amadeus. They don’t sound like Wolfie.) I could say they sound kinda like Skankin’ Pickle on Skafunkrastapunk, but I don’t think that would help much. How about “Jesus Crispies” by Psychefunkapus? How ’bout souped up Freaky Styley? It’s supercharged ska, jerky, geeky punk, caffeine-drenched funk with no horns ’cause they jump around too much and would push them off the stage. Go see ’em yourself and be your own judge.

The final song kinda tied it all together, it was like an “A-Ha!” They played “Whip It” by Devo. The crowd went even more nuts. I guess they had that K-Tel album, too. Not many bands could pull off playing that song. They did. They did it well. Groove Butcher is wild. See them and enjoy them, just don’t try to define or describe them.