This was Snarky Puppy’s first ever visit to Portsmouth and the crowd was enthusiastic at the start and immediately quieted down for the opener Even Us. The show had a balance of four songs from Immigrance and four classics. You can buy the full recording here – Portsmouth Live Snarky.
Even Us: This was a nicely recorded very quiet version. In the middle it has a full effects solo from Chris Bullock that gives it a somewhat distant, Middle Eastern feel.
GØ – This version starts with a drum solo from Jamison masking the identity of the tune to come. Once the main song starts, it seems a little sped up with rapid guitar work from McQueen and especially from the horn section. Maz takes a protracted solo midway sounding excellent with some mute effects and gets nice reception at the end. Nice funky keys solo from Justin at the 2/3 point. Finally the closeout is a rapid speed solo from McQueen.
Semente – Semente opens with a percussion solo from Nate rolling right over non-stop from GØ again hiding the specific song about to be delivered. Nate has great ability to play both a rhythm and melody simultaneously and again the crowd reacts appreciatively. McQueen takes a beautiful, more quiet solo here showing great versatility. The quiet fade out shows just how quiet the crowd was until the cheering outburst at the end.
Chonks – This version sticks fairly close to the album version at the beginning but has an excellent voicebox section from Shaun 1/3 of the way in and not atypically he brings in a little snippet of Parliament/Funkadelic. Solid version start to finish.
Bad Kids to the Back – Now familiar and fan favorite opening is followed by another nice Maz trumpet solo. Jamison does a nice job at the end covering the three album drum segments by himself
Gemini – The highlight here is Chris’ flute solo with a spooky, spacey feel in a very tribal, trancelike version of Gemini. The middle also features a nice organ solo from Bobby Sparks. This slow jam showcases some great interplay from each band member.
Xavi – This is one of the “singles” from Immigrance and has a nice sax solo from Chris on this version. Also, alto flute work of Chris is excellent. The tune has been popping up near the end of most of this years shows, even as the encore in many cases. Midway through Justin takes a bright electric piano solo. Also, Mason Davis (drum tech) comes in for some krakebs (Moroccan castanet) work for this one.
Shofukan – Not surprising that Shofukan classic was chosen as the encore for the first visit to this city. Justin has his usual solo here but more interaction with keys as a quasi call and response. The audience comes in strong on cue despite never having Snarky Puppy in town before. That is one of the hallmarks of this recording, in my opinion – the high engagement of the newbie crowd.