The animating power of music may be its most elemental feature, at least as far as its mass-market appeal is concerned. It’s certainly the aspect that’s made jam music the phenomenon it’s become over the decades, and it’s what shone through most brightly when Lettuce and The Motet took over the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles the day after Valentine’s.

That is, for this author, anyway. After eight straight overnight shifts covering the Winter Olympics, I arrived in L.A.’s Koreatown dazed and confused in ways that may be beyond even the imagination of Matthew McConaughey. The fog of professional, coffee-induced insomnia made a favorite and familiar venue like the Wiltern feel foreign, the thrumbing drums and funky beats of The Motet and Lettuce seem, at first, like mere disturbances of slumber.

But string enough of those horns together with some rhythm, guitar and bass, and that noise is transformed, by dint of context and crowd, into a waking, energizing signal, a call to action whose proper response requires little more than gesticulation and gyration. Keeping the beat is encouraged, but really, the act of physical expression—any physical expression—is what matters most.

For this dozing observer, the music of The Motet and Lettuce was the easiest sipping shot of espresso ever to pass lips and slip into the soul. It turned a living zombie into a “Weekend at Bernie’s” redux, one shuffle step at a time, forward through a thick cloud of California smoke. Luckily, the additional sounds of Rashawn Ross (Dave Matthews Band)–who’d been with the band since the previous night in San Diego–was extra intensifying.

That’s the beauty of modern music, with its ever-extending trend toward energetic movement. It seems simple enough—like the sport of soccer shifting away from long passes in favor of short exchanges and dominating possession—but an important one nonetheless. Across styles, genres and audience demographics, music has become more and more danceable.

Jam music is no exception to that rule, certainly not with double doses of The Motet and Lettuce to get the masses grooving. And while the Wiltern was less than packed for the occasion, that left more than enough room for revelers to celebrate the music freely, and for the exhausted among them to partake with only a fleeting conscience.

After completing their show at the Wiltern Theatre, Lettuce continued on to the Fox Theatre in Oakland, CA, where they were joined by Jason Crosby (Phil Lesh, Widespread Panic).

See below for a full gallery of the Los Angeles show from photographer Brandon Weil, and catch Lettuce as they continue through the west coast and then back east with The Motet and Galactic.

Lettuce 2018 Dates

February 14 San Diego, CA @ Observatory North Park*
February 15 Los Angeles, CA @ Wiltern Theatre*
February 16 Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater*
February 17 Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
February 18 Seattle, WA @ Showbox
February 20 Missoula, MT @ The Wilma
February 22 St. Paul, MN @ Palace Theatre^
February 23 Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theatre^
February 24 Detroit, MI @ St. Andrews Hall^
February 25 Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues^
March 22 Huntington, NY @ The Paramount*
March 23 Port Chester, NY @ Capitol Theatre*
March 24 Port Chester, NY @ Capitol Theatre*
March 26 Hartford, CT @ Infinity Hall
March 28 Richmond, VA @ The National
March 29 Greensboro, NC @ Blind Tiger
March 30 Covington, KY @ Madison Theater
March 31 Covington, KY @ Madison Theater

*With support from Motet
^Co-bill with Galactic