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Little Feat Bring the Funk to Beekman Beer Garden

By Justin Charles 

This past Wednesday, the 3rd Annual NOLA Funk Summer Jazz Festival brought legendary rock band Little Feat to the Beekman Beer Garden; bringing the group’s unique blend of traditional rock and roll and New Orleans style funk to New York once again. Little Feat is no stranger to New York, for they frequently perform in the area.  Yet, no two shows are alike and you never really know what you’re gonna get.

With a career spanning over four decades, it’s easy to think that Little Feat may be a nostalgia act. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The band continues to produce new material, recently releasing their latest album, ‘Rooster Rag’, which stays true to Little Feat’s classic sound. Their live show is rife with improvisation; pushing the boundaries of their jams and switching up their setlists. They tend to play their two most well-known songs – ‘Willin’ and ‘Dixie Chicken’ – every night to keep the casual fan content, but switch up the rest of the set enough to please their fans attend shows regularly.

When L4LM spoke with guitarist Paul Barrere a few days before the Beekman Beer Garden show, he spoke of the consequences of Phish covering their classic album, ‘Waiting For Columbus’. New generations of fans were introduced to Little Feat’s music and the crowds began to get a little younger which holds true for Wednesday night; this crowd felt young and energetic. The set was a non-stop dance fest. It seemed like the ‘veterans’ in the crowd were excited with the turn-out.  Older fans gave high fives before preaching about the band (“You’ve GOT to check out this one Spanish Moon->Skin It Back from 74, man!”).

The set itself was fantastic, pulling solely from the aforementioned classic ‘Waiting for Columbus’ live album and their latest album, ‘Rooster Rag’ (with the exception of a brief cover of Captain Beefheart’s ‘Abba Zabba’). The set started off with an excellent rendition of ‘All That You Dream’, with an extended jam that more than doubled the length of the Waiting for Columbus version. Forty years later, it is great to know the band can continue to evolve its tunes.  The band then performed fan favorite Spanish Moon, before moving into their first new song, One Breath at a Time. Getting back into the classics, the band nailed their updated composition of Fat Man in the Bathtub. At multiple shows, the band has sandwiched ‘Abba Zabba’, along with strong teases of the Grateful Dead’s ‘Scarlet Begonias’ in between Fat Man, creating an awesome little stretch of music.

The rest of the set was new material, highlighted by ‘Church Falling Down’, a slow, dark, new song that sounded fantastic live. They fit in a sing-a-long version of ‘Willin’ before ending the set with an incredible, 20+ minute version of ‘Dixie Chicken’, which showcased this band’s musical talent to the maximum. After a brief break, the band returned for a raucous encore of Oh Atlanta.

Little Feat is a band that you can really see over and over, they never seem to get old. If you like funky, New Orleans style rock and roll, these guys are still at the top of their game. There were classic songs, incredible jams, sing-a-longs, and a slew of new songs that show that this band is still moving forward.

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Photos Credit: Adam Mautner