Music is life, and life is good.
And sometimes, you just need to say Thank You. So…
Thank you, Serotonic, for dedicating yourselves to your music.
Thank you, Lovie, for hosting music at your wonderful establishment, the Manhattan Dolce Bar and Bistro.
Thank you, Serotonic ladies, for allowing your boys to do what they do.
Thank you, Thor, for involving your show, In the Groove on WMNF, and for helping to promote live music at the Manhattan and everywhere.
Thank you, Tampa and Florida, for nourishing such a vibrant live music scene.
As circumstances would dictate, this was my fifth Serotonic show in 22 days (and 24th overall). Obviously, I am a fanboy, but they have truly been stepping up their game. Guitarist Jordan Garno in particular has been on a tear recently, and the entire band seems renewed and refreshed. They had a great show at Hometeam New Year’s Rally, a knock-out performance opening for Freekbass on New Year’s Eve, and a magic opportunity to show what they know to a room packed with musicians at the Snarky Puppy/Motet aftershow with Displace.
From the band set-up at the Manhattan, the diners, bar patrons and those on the patio could all see and hear the band perfectly. Serotonic opened with some tunes in the jazz standard vein, absolutely perfect for this crowd. “Canteloupe Island” was a great vehicle for Bryan Lewis on keyboards. Four songs in came a request – for “Cissy Strut!” It doesn’t get much better than that. Garno and Lewis did the Meters proud on this one.
On NYE, they had played Stevie’s “Isn’t She Lovely” as a samba, but this time the song was driven uptempo to great effect. Following that was a new Latin tune that sounded Chick Corea-inspired. Thor described it as “nasty.” Yep! A great first set to launch the evening.
“Come Together” kicked off the second set, highlighted by Jon Tucker stomping on his tambourine while playing the alto sax, and a great alto sax-and-cymbals coda courtesy of Tucker and Andrew Kilmartin. Then they blew up my favorite of their originals, “Rhinobelly.” That’s five dynamite versions in a row! W00T!
Later in the set, “Move So Well” was followed by the great Black Seeds cover “Fire,” with an enthusiastic vocal chorus, and then Soulive’s “Vapor,” with Lewis again shining. The last song of the set featured precision ensemble work and bassist Rob Sanger’s best work of the night (thus far!).
As they got ready for set three, the iPod was playing “Get Lucky,” and they were teasing it as they warmed up, and then they just… played it. No. Not just played it. They really knocked it out. I don’t think they’d ever really played it before, but you would never have known it.
Curtis Mayfield’s “Move On Up” has become a show staple, and this one was great. Garno sang it, and Lewis’ synthesizer part was perfect. The set included “Molly Jane” and a strong take on “Jelly.” Tucker has been having a blast with his new effects pedals, giving him electric and wah-wah dimensions to his saxophone.
Finally, it was time for the last tune, and Kilmartin instructed everyone on the complex lyrics we would be required to sing for the Lettuce tune “Squadlive.” And that false ending gets ‘em every time. (Well, it gets me every time.)
There were calls for “one more song,” none louder than from the effervescent Lovie! And Kelly-Ann Garno stepped up to the mike to deliver “Valerie.” It was the perfect ending to a great night.
It was great to see the Serotonic ladies and their friends!
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