G Love and Ozomatli… at the Tivoli.

So after a few days off down the coast, I know this entry is popping up late; but on Sunday evening, I accomplished one more of my “band goals”, with a night at the Tivoli. This entry is being composed on the long train back to Brisbane… so excuse some grammatical errors, which I have no doubt will pop up.
Thanks to some free tickets from Chugg Entertainment, a few of us were lucky enough to see G Love and Special Sauce, with supporting act Ozomatli rock the hell out of Brisbane. All in all, it was a great night, so I’ll jump straight in.

(Aside: One more apology for the terrible pictures from a crappy phone and lack of notes including set-list. The G Love night kind of took me by surprise, so I wasn’t exactly kitted out…)

Ozomatli

Ozomatli
Ozomatli performed an incendiary set at the Tivoli in Brisbane

Arriving sometime just before 9pm, we were lucky to get in just as Ozomatli were starting up. Unfortunately this means that we got there too late to see local opening act, Shoebox. I haven’t seen these guys before, but if anyone was there for their set, please drop a comment below and let us know how it went.
Unfortunately the Tiv wasn’t exactly packed to capacity on Sunday; in fact, they even closed off the upper section… there were those kind of numbers. I suspect that a lot of that had to do with the fact that Bluesfest was on the same weekend, and both G Love and Ozomatli had performed there the night before. That said, those who didn’t make it out that night truly missed something special. So while the numbers weren’t huge, we were still greeted by an absolute sea of fans, all grooving to Ozomatli’s beats, when we walked through the front doors.

Ozomatli at the Tivoli
Ozomatli killing it at The Tivoli

While I’ll be the first to admit I’ve never been a huge fan of Ozomatli’s recorded work, seeing them live certainly changed my opinion of them. There is this ridiculously infectious feel to their live performance; a sheer joy that spreads from them, on the stage, throughout the crowd and the venue. The sheer numbers up on stage ensures an inevitably chaotic feel to the set; but it’s a chaos of abandon and fun; of friendship and sharing. Ultimately, Ozomatli started one of the best conversations I’ve ever seen between an artist and it’s fans. And it was great. Within the first 30 seconds of arriving, we were jiving to their killer beats.

Ozomatli at the Tivoli
Ozomatli had the crowd jiving to their tunes

Performing mainstays such as “After Party”, “Can’t Stop” and “City of Angels”, Ozomatli had the crowd constantly moving. And – in one of the firsts for me at The Tivoli – as they reached the end of their set, members began climbing off the stage, taking their instruments with them, and leading the crowd on a merry conga line around the venue. It really was like watching the Pied Pipers of Hamlin leading the children to a better place. And, as they ended their last song standing in the entrance hall of the Tivoli, it truly felt like we had entered that better place. If only for a fleeting moment, music did what all great music should do: broke down the walls.

And the people of the world say…
Oye Baby
Oye Mami
Donde Esta La Afterparty

– Ozomatli, “After Party”

Sheffer Bruton of Ozomatli
Sheffer Bruton after the set

After the set, I was lucky to catch up with trombonist Sheffer Bruton and snapped a picture of him with a friend (there you go Sophie, you made the blog). Although time was limited and there were only fleeting comments – after all, there were several scantliy-clad girl looking to make his acquaintance – the guy seemed really humble and gracious about everything.
Put it this way… I’m a fan.

Listen. Love. Support.

Listen: Ozomatli – After Party

G Love

G Love
G Love and Special Sauce put on an amazing show at the Tivoli in Brisbane


I think I’ve lost count of how many years I’ve been aching to see G Love perform live.
Counting back to the first time my friend turned me onto his tunes, I can say that it’s – at least – over the 10 year mark.
G Love is, to me, one of the most complete musicians of my era. While his brand of blues and funk sometimes seems interminable to those who need their songs packaged into 3:30 min format, to me G Love hearkens back to a time when a blues man knew what he was talking about. When a blues man paid his respects to those who came before him, but produced more than homage; an innovator. And someone slightly out of step with time. All this may not seem obvious when seeing G Love from the outside; after all, he’s an easy-going guy, who’s songs often deals with frivolous topics. But I think underneath that there’s a wealth of knowledge and experience. In short, a hip, hip cat. And that’s G Love to a tee.

G Love at the Tivoli
G Love giving it to the Tivoli.

While the energy that Ozomatli instilled in the crowd seemed to dissipate somewhat when G came on stage, the set was no less incendiary. Opening up with a killer rendition of “Back of the Bus”, Garrett was definitely on it that night, as were the rest of the band. “Honour and Harmony” was probably the one song I wanted to hear most out of the set, and when it came on, it was sheer bliss. When a band like G Love and Special Sauce is on it, they are on it. It’s like a constant play between instruments; slick, flawless, and playful, these were guys who were jamming on a different plane. And, when “Holla!” came around, I’m pretty sure – at least, going by pretty much every girl in earshot – every girl within 5 miles of Garrett had decided that he was pretty much the sexiest guy ever. The fact that he was blowing a mean-ass harp throughout the night probably didn’t hurt matters much.

G Love and Ozomatli at The Tivoli
G Love and several members of Ozomatli up on stage

G Love then called up Raul, from Ozomatli, to join him for an outstanding, dulcet-toned performance of “Take You There”, and from then on, the crowd really did join in for a crazy trip… the band certainly had taken everyone there. From “Take You There”, the band then played a blistering “Hot Cookin’” – paying homage to blues in the best way, with a harmonica killing it. G Love and band then launched into possibly the highlight of the night for me. A medley of tunes, the band performed a line-up including “Blues Music”, Lou Reed’s “Walk On The Wild Side”, and A Tribe Called Quest’s “Can I Kick It?”. Going on for near to 15 minutes, I think this was the most contagious moment I have ever experienced at The Tivoli, bar none. The crowd was moving up and down, breaking crests in time with the beats; if I took one thing away from the night, it will be that special feeling during that performance. I think it will probably be a mainstay of my favourite “concert moments” for years to come.

A collection of the people
Who started it all
I reckon
I kept them
In my sock like money
Blues music…

– G Love, “Blues Music”

After that, Sheffer from Ozomatli was called back up to help perform what was undoubtedly the crowd favourite of the night, “Cold Beverages”. Again, a song that went near the 10 minute mark, it was jamming at its pure best. With the crowd still surging and yelling out the lyrics, it was the perfect way to close what can only be described as an incredible set.

G Love closes the set, solo
G Love closes the set.

Of course, there was an encore. Coming back onto the stage solo and seating himself upon a stool, G Love performed one more tune: “Still Hangin’ Around”. And as long as he can put on performances like Sundays, there’s no doubt that G Love’s fan will be hangin’ around for a long time to come.

Listen: G Love and Special Sauce – Back Of The Bus (live)

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