Last weekend, as spring kicked off in Atlanta, Snarky Puppy’s warm sound rolled into The Eastern for the last stop on their US Spring Tour.
Review and images by Trey Brunn
Snarky Puppy is currently on tour in support of their newest album, Empire Central. The album received honors at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards, winning the Grammy for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album. This marks Snarky Puppy’s fifth Grammy and their performance on Friday was certainly in step with that gold standard which has not only brought them their notoriety but a devoted fanbase as well.
The Eastern provided the perfect setting for Snarky Puppy’s laid back, Texas vibes. The mood was set from the first saxophone chord; soon the sold out crowd was in full sway. As the band grooved seamlessly across their opening songs, stage lighting appropriately in sync, the audience were entranced. The energy was engaging, but not overpowering, striking the perfect balance of stank face & side to side head bob. As their opening run of songs rounded out, bandleader and bassist Michael League welcomed the crowd and laid out the course for the evening’s musical journey. The setlist highlighted selections from their 16 all-new track portfolio found on Empire Central. Their jazz inspired DNA was on full, glorious display, as they took you on a one way trip through the switchboard of funk, inspired by their Texas roots and paying homage to the legend Bernard Wright.
Snarky Puppy is a music collective, boasting as many as 25 regular rotating members. Their members maintain busy schedules, performing with notable artists such as Erykah Badu, Snoop Dog, & Kendrick Lamar. Others are producers for artists such as Kirk Franklin & David Crosby. Front men Michael League and Mark Lettieri led throughout the evening and brought the house down as Mark “talked a little Texas” to the crowd with a guitar solo tangier than a dollop of Luling City Market barbecue sauce.
Opening the evening was the 2021 voice of the Detroit Pistons, Mama Sōl. Hailing from Flint, Michigan, Mama Sol’s style harks back to the glory days of hip-hop, and her effortless, rhyme punching delivery, perfectly exhibited her encouraging and uplifting spirit. Sol’s connection with the audience was felt immediately, and she exited with one of the biggest roars of applause of the evening.
You couldn’t have asked for a groovier, funkier, spring evening in Atlanta, and this was surely a show that everyone in the audience will remember for a long, long time.