Praise god, for it was written in numbers;
Soon you'll know of the great joy we feel today to be able to speak freely and talk eye to eye with a small group of Americans;
We feel that the time has come for your nation to awaken to its true spiritual import,
and we wish to do everything in our power to help you to that realization...
It's amazing to me how strongly our mind can decide to tie sensory input together. I'm sure you've all had this experience many times, for better or worse. While the vast majority of information sent to your brain to prioritize is basically thrown in the bulk mail bin, there's always those occasional things that your brain strongly indexes together. These memories lay dormant indefinitely, hiding in the depths of the brain until being brought back by a smell, a taste, or a melody.
So I fire up a show today, and suddenly...BAM! It's the late summer of 2000. I'm visiting any number of friends at whatever college they're attending here in the Northeast, and we're partying. We're in that same worn down, sparsely accessorized apartment that serves as the headquarters for every soiree at this stage of life. You know the one: The floors are sticky and crooked, you can find the low point of a room by watching where the beer pong ball ends its meandering. Ragged drug and drinking related posters are high art. The sickly sweet aroma of bad beer and good weed hangs thick in the air, and you avoid the couch because you can't even guess what made a stain like that.
Those were the days indeed; when a given evening could result in a brawl, a lay, an overdose, a trip to lockup, a deep sleep on an uncomfortable surface, or any combination thereof...And for me, there's no music that brings this specific experience back quite like G. Love and Special Sauce. My experience is not unique, for anyone reading this who is in their 20's or 30's and experienced their formative years in the region, G. Love and the band are an animation of all of those hazy nights spent on the precipice of trouble and pleasure.
Perhaps their ability to create a soundtrack for this stage of life is what has carried them so far musically. They've never experienced huge success, but GLaSS has been making good, relatable music for 16 years and counting. I don't think anyone will accuse them of being virtuosos or of taking music to a higher level, but that's OK. Sometimes we just want to kick back, crack a brew, light a spliff, and try to talk that beautiful girl out of her boyfriend and into your apartment.
What's interesting about the music that GLaSS makes is that it's often just sort of thrown into this party category, as if it doesn't deserve respect in it's own right. Look at my article so far, in fact, because that's pretty much exactly what I've done. The fact is that these guys deserve respect not only based on their staying power but also how they're able to make us feel via their music. Can you think of another laid back, relatable style of music which is meant to speak to the good an bad times in the average life?
I've got a hand in the back of the class. Yes, you...What's that? The blues? Yes, you're absolutely correct. The blues style is very much evident in the music of GLaSS. Don't let the modernized sound and the rapping lyricism fool you into thinking otherwise. This sound is all about putting to music a myriad of experiences, good and bad, that any of us could be going through at any given time, and the ability to do that well is what separates G. Love from just another party band. For who amongst us hasn't had made a booty call, hustled for the attention of a fine lady/guy, or thirsted mightily for a cold beverage? Cast the first stone then, you prude...
Recoil Magazine: Do you think there's a message in music that's been lost due to the value our culture puts into money?
G Love: Yes and no. I think the most important thing of music is to make people dance and make people feel emotional. Giving people those chills in their spine when they're driving home from work in their car, I think that's the function of music and probably always has been. Music continues to do that whether you like it or not. I don't think this, but you might think Justin Timberlake is a terrible artist just because he's pop. But shit, he's got a great voice and he makes people dance. I know people really get off on his shit, and that's the point of music. Whether you like Justin Timberlake or Bob Dylan, at the end of the day it's music coming into your brain and going into the neural receptors that process the music in your brain. It's all releasing the same chemicals in your body. And that's what music has always done since people started originally making music. I think you can say a certain kind of music has been more successful than others because of the marketplace, but I don't necessarily think that's a crime. Like you said, there's niches, and if G. Love was as big as Justin Timberlake or if Bob Dylan was as big as Puff Daddy, then you'd probably be talking shit about Bob Dylan and G. Love.
I've seen G. Love and Special Sauce too many times to recall them all. I chose this show because, like everything I try to showcase here, it holds an appeal to both the novice and the experienced fan. This is the band at their finest, rocking the Town Ballroom in Buffalo, NY.
Almost all of the classics are included, although I almost nixed this show due to the omission of one of my favorites, "Don't Drop It". I've talked way too much already, so let me just say that this is almost everything I'd want to throw at the uninitiated, and it's also a perfect show for a seasoned veteran of the band. Highlights are a great "Honor and Harmony", "Kick Drum", "Peace, Love and Happiness", the Tribe Called Quest cover "Can I Kick It", and the extended "Gin and Juice/Cold Beverage" encore. The version of "Garbage Man" in this show is also not to be missed! The whole set is deep and solid, in full it was:
Back of the Bus, Dreamin', Honor and Harmony, Holla!, Give It To You, Garbage Man, Booty Call >Why Don't We Do It in the Road?, Kick Drum, Hot Cookin', No Turning Back, Stepping Stones, G Love blues, Baby Got Sauce, Blues Music > Walk on the Wild Side * > Can I Kick It?,
, E: Rainbow, ?, Sunshine, Beautiful, Rodeo Clowns, Peace, Love and Happiness, Cold Beverage >Gin & Juice >Cold Beverage
Sound quality is an A-, some slight dullness but otherwise a great representation of both band and crowd. Taped and transferred by S.Nochajski, so toda raba to you! Photo credit to Smashing Mag, interview credit goes to Recoil Magazine. If you haven't vicariously lived my early 20's enough just yet, check out my Deep Banana Blackout and State Radio posts, and be on the lookout for an upcoming post on Dispatch...!