Snarky Puppy is perhaps the world’s finest instrumental jazz-funk-world music band. From 2014-2017 they earned three Grammy awards most recently Best Contemporary Instrumental album for Culcha Vulcha. Calling them a band rather than an ensemble or even a musical phenomenon is debatable since they never play their songs the same way twice, partly because they have a rotating lineup of musicians on nearly every instrument.
On March 15, 2019, the group released their thirteenth album, Immigrance, and embarked on a 150+ date world tour for the rest of the year in support of that album. As with past tours, the band records most of their live sets, available for purchase at Live Snarky. I’ll be releasing short reviews of every live recording right here on FunkCity.net with a crew of some pretty avid Snarky fans so stayed tuned for that. As part of the preparation for those reviews, I’ve compiled the stats for the twenty-five live recordings releases so far and it shows some pretty interesting observations as detailed below.
First, it’s interesting to see that the band is playing a near 50:50 mix of songs from Immigrance and older albums overall. However on any given night the balance can be tilted up to 70% to one side older songs or Immigrance album.
So far, ‘Xavi’ is the most frequently played song followed by ‘Bad Kids to the Back’, both from the new album. Several bonus songs that are not on the album have also been played including Embossed, Chrysalis and Bardis.
Here’s the songs played on each date — you can see that the set list is always varied. This is one of the reasons that Snarky Puppy live is always a treat and full of surprises.
Snarky Puppy encores always stretch out and show the bands chops. So far, ‘Xavi’, a new song, is the most frequent encore. Michael League, the band’s leader, enlists the audience on this tune for sychronized clapping. ‘Shofukan’ and ‘Lingus’, two of the bands classic tunes are other encore favorites.
Each set list is unique, and Michael adjusts many of them on the fly, depending on how the band is performing and the fell he’s getting from the audience. But you can see some interesting patterns – for example, ‘Xavi’ being played towards the end of the set and ‘Even us’ a slower, new song becoming a popular opener.
Changing out personnel is customary with the band to reduce fatigue in the members and to make each show unique. Here’s the personnel by date and you can see for example that Jason “JT” Thomas started the tour in Japan on drums and Jamison Ross picked up back in the U.S. in May.
Last and not least, because of the combination of changing set list and rotating lineup, each song will come out unique. This chart shows the number of times each song has been played thus far by each band member.
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