Snarky Puppy, Esco Williams: The Kazimier, Liverpool


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Snarky Puppy serve up some furious funk and The Kazimier crowd dish it right back at ’em. Getintothis’ Sean Bradbury gets into the groove.

Snarky Puppy were last in Liverpool just 18 months ago, but for bassist and composer Michael League it was all a blur.
He tells the Kazimier he was struggling with norovirus back in the Winter of 2012 and can barely recall the gig.
It was good“, he is assured by a faithful fan, but one thing is certain: he will remember this night.
The band somehow cram on stage and an early indication of their talents comes in the form of What About Me? from their most recent record We Like It Here.
It’s a high octane start: the melody line practically leaping down and surging through the crowd, infecting the whole place with irresistible fusion grooves row by row.
Just when it seems on the cusp of cacophony with everyone doing their own thing, the sound unites into a forceful wave of jazz-funk that sends further ripples out across the floor.
And so it continues. There is even time for most of the group to slope off to the bar for a drink and to soak up the carnival atmosphere of Tio Macaco, leaving drummer and percussionist to have a samba shootout that ends an entertaining score draw.
It is rare to see a band so involved and living a performance; each member turning their head to watch on and appreciate every time someone delivers a solo spot – with keyboardist Cory Henry probably getting the most plaudits for his highly-charged riffing on Lingus.
And the crowd played their part too, putting smiles on Snarky Puppy faces by delivering vocal lines when called upon and diving back in with right on cue without being prompted.
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Support came from Liverpool rising soul star Esco Williams with his band.
Getintothis has previously sung the praises of his new stripped-down direction indicated on Breaking Bones, which he begins with accompanied by acoustic guitar and captivated silence.
The rest of his set shows there is much more to get excited about: confessional and emotional lyrics, slithering funk chops, wah wah guitar and blistering lead breaks, vocals soaring high and dipping low – with a brief blend of Beyonce‘s XO even finding its way into the mix.
Esco signs off with Oh Jordan, showcasing Frank Ocean phrasing, ghostly vocal lines and harmonies and perhaps the best song he has put together yet.

Further reading on Getintothis
Sub Blue: Your Call.
Liverpool music’s ones to watch in 2014 – the new breed to listen out for on Merseyside.
Esco Williams among 10 artists to benefit from Momentum Music Fund.
Getintothis reviews Esco Williams at Astral Coast.
GIT Award 2013 and Esco Williams single launch: The Grey Space, Water Street
Watch Esco Williams’ video to the New Challenger.
Getintothis‘ in depth interview with GIT Award nominee Esco Williams.