PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.

Reviews

The Meter Men: 30 July 2013 - Stateline, NV

Here in Tahoe, fans find the Meter Men at Harrah’s for an aftershow party right across the street from tonight’s Phish show - “#winning”, as Charlie Sheen would say.

The Meter Men
City: Stateline, NV
Venue: Harrah's Lake Tahoe South Shore Room
Date: 2013-07-30

South Lake Tahoe is gorgeous in the summertime and it’s even better when some of the greatest musicians in the world are on hand for evening entertainment. Such is the case at the end of July with Vermont jam-rockers Phish in town for two shows at Harvey’s Outdoor Arena, followed by an array of aftershow parties for the late night party people. Lovers of old school funk were delighted when the Meter Men announced that their long-awaited California debut would follow tonight’s Phish show. The Phish Nation has taken over the town and the good vibes are everywhere.

“I think it’s great that Phish is coming back now that we know about Phish,” Harrah’s and Harveys Director of Entertainment John Packer told Tahoe Onstage. “The first time out (two years ago) we weren’t too sure. We knew who they were, of course, and that they were a great band but we weren’t sure about 9,000 people a day descending upon the place. But it was great. The Phish fans are just terrific fans, real music lovers. So we were really happy when they wanted to come back after being here just two years ago.”

Phish fans are indeed serious music lovers, many of whom like to keep the good times rolling by seeing another band play after Phish. This reputation draws other bands to schedule shows around Phish’s tour. Here in Tahoe fans find the Meter Men at Harrah’s for an aftershow party right across the street from tonight’s Phish show -- “#winning”, as Charlie Sheen would say. The band features three-quarters of the original Meters, the legendary New Orleans funk kingpins whose impact on the modern music scene goes deeper than many know. Phish fans have come to love Robert Palmer’s ultra funky “Sneakin Sally Through the Alley,” a staple of the Phish repertoire since 1997. But how many fans know that the Meters were Palmer’s backing band on the original studio recording? Those who do are drawn to Harrah’s tonight like a moth to a funky flame.

Meters keyboardist Art Neville has apparently retired from touring, but drummer Zigaboo Modeliste, bassist George Porter Jr., and guitarist Leo Nocentelli have kept the groovy jams going these past couple years under the Meter Men name. The band went "Phishing" with help from none other than Phish keyboardist Page McConnell, who filled the keyboard slot in a handful of highly praised shows over the past year. John "Papa" Gros from New Orleans band Papa Grows Funk is on the keys tonight, though many of the 500 plus fans in attendance are probably hoping for a guest appearance by McConnell. But that would merely be icing on the cake with this band.

The Meter Men hit the stage shortly before midnight with the instrumental “Here Come the Meter Men”, an apt opener. Classics like “Fire on the Bayou” and “Funkify Your Life” deepen the groove to get the dance party into full swing. The rhythm section of Porter and Modeliste is one of the most influential in music history and the dynamic duo remains on the top of its game. Phish fans can certainly relate to “Funkify Your Life”, basically a Phish motto since 1997 when the band evolved its sound in more of a groove-oriented direction . Nocentelli’s funky riffage hits the spot over Zigaboo’s deep pocket beat, with the crowd reveling in the groovy goodness.

The room is still filling up with some fans clearly running a bit late, probably due to general socializing of which there is much to do here in the Tahoe late night scene. But as the crowd grows, the band seems to dig deeper into the grooves. Zigaboo crushes both the skins and the vocals on “Just Kissed My Baby” and “Africa”, with the latter anthem cranking up the rock factor on one of the band’s most powerful tunes. But the best is still to come. The band soon takes a short break and when it returnsx, the room is full and everyone is ready for action.

The band digs into the extensive Meters catalog for the super groovy “Doodle Loop”, a deep cut to open the set. “The world is a little bit under the weather, and I’m not feeling too good myself,” sings Zigaboo in a cathartic manner that also recalls Dr. John’s “Feelin’ Alright”. The New Orleans music scene has long had a socially conscious undercurrent, and Zigaboo is well known for doing his part to slip in thought provoking messages amongst the funky jams. The seminal “Cissy Strut” finds everyone getting down on the good foot, with Zigaboo’s crisp snare drum sounding so tight and Gros going deep on the organ solo while Nocentelli delivers a clinic of funk guitar. A staple cover of the Isley Brothers’ “It’s Your Thing” hits another high water mark, as the show seems to keep getting better and better as the band and crowd synch in with each other.

When the band launches into the epic rhythm and blues of “It Ain’t No Use”, time seems to stand still. The studio track from the Meters’ 1974 Rejuvenation album clocked in at over 11 minutes, something of a landmark statement in an era when the Grateful Dead, the Allman Brothers Band and Santana were pretty much the only bands known to stretch out. It’s got a bluesier vibe than the Meters are generally known for, but with a deep groove and some of Nocentelli’s finest playing. The underrated guitarist has been one of the best in the business for decades and he shines on the extended jam here, with the crowd loving every minute. The quartet locks in for a supreme jam on the tune about an irresistible infatuation that finds the elusive x-factor coalescing for an extended dosage of musical magic.

There’s no guest appearance from McConnell, but it doesn’t matter because the Meter Men have delivered the goods. The band concludes the evening with the perfect encore in the classic “Hey Pocky A-Way”, a tune that sums up the lifestyle of both the old school New Orleans music scene and the modern jam rock scene where fans will travel many a mile on the quest for a transcendent show.

“Feel good music, I’ve been told, it’s good for the body and it’s good for your soul,” sings Zigaboo over one of the greatest good time grooves in music history. It’s a deep truth that sums up a beautiful harmonic convergence between the Meters from New Orleans and Phish from Vermont on a splendid summer night in South Lake Tahoe.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Books

'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.

Music

20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.

Film

Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.

Film

The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.

Television

Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).

Music

Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.

Music

Aalok Bala Revels in Nature and Contradiction on EP 'Sacred Mirror'

Electronic musician Aalok Bala knows the night is not a simple mirror, "silver and exact"; it phases and echoes back, alive, sacred.

Music

Clipping Take a Stab at Horrorcore with the Fiery 'Visions of Bodies Being Burned'

Clipping's latest album, Visions of Bodies Being Burned, is a terrifying, razor-sharp sequel to their previous ode to the horror film genre.

Music

Call Super's New LP Is a Digital Biosphere of Insectoid and Otherworldly Sounds

Call Super's Every Mouth Teeth Missing is like its own digital biosphere, rife with the sounds of the forest and the sounds of the studio alike.

Music

Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.

Film

15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.

Music

Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.

Music

Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.

Music

Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.

Music

Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.

Film

The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.

Music

British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.

Film

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.