G. Love & Special Sauce | 02.01.08

glove.jpgAll the girls down in front of the stage were swooning throughout the night as G. would graze their hands or throw them a wink.

 

 

 

 

I’m a big fan of G. Love & Special Sauce. Last summer I even got a chance to interview G (a.k.a. Garrett Dutton) when the band played at downtown St. Louis’ "Live on the Levee" free concert series, which was an incredible show. So, when I heard they were stopping back through town at the Pageant on Feb. 1, I had high expectations for a great show. Sadly, I was somewhat disappointed, as I think were most fans there last Friday night.

In all fairness, G. Love mentioned several times in his brief hour and fifteen minute set that he was fighting a cold, even apologizing for not being on top of his game. I suppose playing sick is better than not playing at all. In fact, on the band’s web site there’s even a post from two days prior to the show here apologizing for the cancellation of a show in Iowa City, as G was put on "voice rest" by his doctor. And the band certainly gave it their all – but the sound quality was just awful. Hardly any of G’s vocals, which are so crucial to their songs, were even intelligible. I think this was a combination of his voice not being in peak condition, his putting his mouth directly on the microphone while singing and the sound mix just not being right. Everything sounded muffled, as if being heard through earplugs.

The poor sound quality really put a damper on what, on paper, was a fabulous set; although they certainly get the "E" for effort. The band tore through fan favorites like their breakout hit "Cold Beverages," "Booty Call" and the signature "My Baby’s Got Sauce." Another highlight was a cover of The Beatles’ "Why Don’t We Do It in the Road." Jimmy Jazz was killer as usual on the stand-up bass.

After only about eight songs, the band retreated backstage briefly, then returned to slow things down for an acoustic encore including "Rainbow," from Jack Johnson’s Thicker Than Water soundtrack and a rather bland version of "Beautiful," a duet G. Love performs on his most recent album, Lemonade, with songstress Tristan Prettyman. Without the harmony and chemistry of Prettyman’s vocals (she will join him as opener for the rest of his tour), the song is lackluster. He should stick to playing it live only when she is around.

One thing that’s for certain is that, even with a cold, the ladies love G. Love. All the girls down in front of the stage were swooning throughout the night as G. would graze their hands or throw them a wink. He even dedicated the sultry "Holla" to a girl in the front row, asking her name, then declaring "This one is for Karen" as she screamed with delight.  The man has charm, that’s for sure.

Despite the disappointing sound issues, it was still a good time – a nice diversion from the snow, cold and cabin fever of winter. Everyone has an off night now and then. I suppose I can forgive G if he promises to come back our way soon and make it up to us when he’s feeling better. | Amy Burger

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