DAVE GRIPPO FUNK BAND | 12.1.2000 | Burlington VT (B.Getz on JamBase)

On the same evening that Trey joined MMW in Albany, Jon Fishman again joined the Dave Grippo Funk Band here at Club Metronome. Fishman played all three sets with the group, he brought his own kit, replacing Kenny “Sweet Sugar G” Goldfield, who had another gig. Fishman elaborated on the grooves he cooked up a month ago when he first jammed with Grippo. They ran through the normal GFB repertoire of James Brown/R+B/Soul covers and hip hop jams with MCs Reko “The Mighty Konflik” and Fattie B., as well as the newest member, turntablist A-DOG. Highlights of the evening’s music included Stevie Wonder’s roaring “I Wish”, a psychedelic jam out of “I Got That Feeling”, and a floor shaking “Hip Hop 101”.

The band played three fifty minute sets, a different lineup than usual, devoid of trombonist/resident weirdo James Harvey, who is on a spiritual retreat in the Northeast Kingdom for a month, and also without young axe slinger Dave Diamond, who was on tour with the Boston-based Honey Pot.

Diamond was replaced on guitar by longtime Grippo/Burlington friend Tommy Smith, whose Dave Gilmour-type soaring playing lent an exploratory feel to the normally rigid thump of GFB. Fishman took this ball and ran with it, really stretching out underneath the myriad of solos. Grippo’s newfound stardom as a bandleader came through as he blessed us with tweaking melodic phrasings and signature classic horn arrangements all by himself. Fishman played transfixed; his head bowed and bobbing like emergency brakes while bassist (and Pork Tornado cohort) Aaron Hersey broke down the bass with bastardly levels of ferocity. The jams veered on sloppy at times; however tonight it was welcome in the name of improvisation.

Reko and Fattie took the improv cue and blew it up in the form of witty, humorous freestyles and call and response hip hop tactics Kool Herc circa ’79. At one point somebody from the audience provided a green blazer (ala Golf’s Masters) and Reko donned the jacket, took the alias Tiger Woods and had the joint rolling. Another climax of the evening was during “Hip Hop101” (in the last review I explained the premise of this song; the MCs offer a lesson in the form of a classic rhyme from an old school favorite.) Reko and Fattie busted into the Slick Rick (and later Snoop Doggy Dogg) jam “La Di Da Di”, and pretty much everyone in the front sang all the lyrics as Fish laid it down with gusto.

After the show, Fishman mingled with those who remained at Metronome, before he began to pack up his drums (a trap set, much smaller than his Phish gear), and it occurred to me how ironic it must have been for him to bring his kit out to Club Metronome, it being upstairs from and in the same buildings as Phish’s old stomping grounds Nectar’s.

Fishman, Tommy Smith, and A-Dog brought something new to the already steaming Grippo Funk Band brew. GFB is booked for NYEVE. We shall see what the lineup turns out to be…

Thanks for listening,
Brian Getz
JamBase VT 4 NOW, NJ 4 LIFE Correspondent
Go See Live Music!