This Tuesday, I witnessed something pretty spectacular. I went to see Snarky Puppy perform live at Metropolis. Not only was this one of the best live shows I have seen in a while, there were other things I found quite surprising.
First of all, the show was sold out. Yes, a jazz fusion show sold out. I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised by this, as Snarky Puppy has been around for 10 years now, so they have managed to grow a pretty decent following. However, this audience wasn’t the typical ‘old dudes’ type audience I was expecting. Instead, it was largely people in their early to mid twenties, and a fairly good representation of women as well (jazz fusion, like progressive rock has long been a good way to ensure you don’t get any dates or attention from the ladies). The band was very warmly received, and they were treated like rock stars.
The other thing that was quite surprising was that the audience knew the tunes that were being played. The beginning riffs would bring on cheers from the audience just like a pop band playing one of their hits. Also, when one of the musicians played something that showed off their talent (Snarky Puppy is a band of extremely skilled musicians), this was also noticed and well received by the audience, again demonstrated with cheers. When keyboardist and trumpet player Jason Stanton was playing the synth bass line for What about me, he got cheers every time he transposed it up a tone. This was an audience who knew this music, who knew music and who were paying attention to everything – and a young audience at that!
One of the best parts of the show was when the band played Shofukan (see video below), the first track off their 2014 album We like it Here (an amazing album), the entire audience sang the part near the end where the trumpet fanfare gets sung by the band instead of the brass. Again, this showed that this audience knew this material very well.
Then after the last song, the audience spontaneously started singing that same fanfare to get the band to come out and perform an encore – which they did. They played the last track from We Like it Here, which featured keyboardist Corey Henry’s amazing solo. The show ended with Henry crowdsurfing, a final demonstration of how this band was elevated to rock star status. If you ever get a chance to see this band live, I highly recommend it. It was a truly fantastic experience.