Friday, November 20, 2009

Review: Medeski Martin and Wood @ HOB, 11/13

As I entered the House of Blues on November 13th, Medeski Martin and Wood sat unassumingly on stage, practically dwarfed by their setup – John Medeski hunched over a gigantic keyboard contraption, Billy Martin tinkering with a loaded drum kit, and Chris Wood between them, upright bass in hand. Once the trio started to play, however, opening with a lively rendition of “Flat Tires,” there was nothing low-key about their presence. MMW played an electrifying show, rocking the House of Blues until almost 1:00 a.m.

The group moved seamlessly between songs, deftly swinging between jazz and funk in their extended jams. MMW teased the audience with these improvisations, dipping into arrhythmic, discordant sections that kept the audience on their toes before melting into yet another groove, during songs such as “Is There Anybody Here That Loves My Jesus.” The constant motion of the band’s performance kept the crowd’s attention riding high all night.

I was constantly bowled over by each of the members’ musicianship—together, Medeski, Martin and Wood delivered an incredibly tight performance, but they each shone solo as well. Billy Martin wowed the crowd with his drum solo following “Agmation,” while John Medeski’s work on the keyboard was nothing short of virtuosic. Chris Wood was impressive on both double bass and bass guitar; I was particularly excited to watch him playing slide bass, a unique and funky touch.

Though MMW played for well over two hours, the audience only seemed to grow in excitement throughout the show; even the encore, “F*ck You Guys” had the crowd in a frenzy. Medeski, Martin and Wood put on an impressive show that’s sure to be one of the most memorable at the House of Blues this year.

-Lana Tkachenko

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