G. Love & Special Sauce – at The Linwood – Review

G. Love & Special Sauce

at The Linwood
by Joey Ammo
photo at the Middle East Cafe by Chris Johnson

Saturday night in the Fens. Keeping my word (as always) to Barry Hite, I show up at the Linwood for the debut of his Saturday night series which, tonight, is G Love. Actually, I’m tired, cranky, and in one of my generally foul moods, ready to hate the band and the world.

First thought through the door: “Wow, everyone’s stoned.” But that’s not it. It’s just they seem to be bobbing in slow motion, like they’re all floating on puffy clouds of kind bud. Then this insidious sonic sneak attack steps into me and my attitude gets a wide, silly stoner’s grin slapped on it.

I look to the stage for the culprit. There’s a six-foot-two guru sitting in a chair knocking his bony knees together in rhythm, sloppily thumb-picking real Delta-style blues on an old Silvertone guitar, gurgling up the koolinest phat rap since Mike Diamond of the Beastie Boys. And he grooves. Ghroo-o-o-oves. This is G. They said he was like Beck. I saw Beck. Beck couldn’t carry this guy’s bags to the car.

No tapes, triggers, drum machines, or DJ. Nope, just G and his band: Drums, upright bass (sweet!), and a little sax here and there. Unplugged House? Acoustic Hip-Hop? Slacker Rap (huh)? All I know is that the last time I swayed like that was a long Saturday night in a ball-bearing bed with a girl I now have a novena shrine to in a dark part of my skull. This boy had juice and was pouring twelve ounces for everyone there.

I go up and talk with him after the set. No attitude on this guy. He’s humble, intelligent, grateful. We talk about real blues. Leadbelly. John Hurt. Gary Davis. Nice guy, knows his stuff.

On the way back to the car I spark a cheeba. I’m still smiling.