On Saturday, LOCKN’ Festival hosted a truly next-level lineup of musicians, with the entire day jam-packed with high-octane performances featuring guest sit-ins and more. Dead & Company headed the festivities on the main stage, though many of its band members kept themselves busy through the evening, later sitting in with Lettuce‘s already-historic late-night tribute to Jerry Garcia Band. However, ahead of Tedeschi Trucks Band‘s set, multiple members of the group—Bob Weir, John Mayer, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann—warmed up before their show with a special sit-in during Foundation Of Funk‘s set.
For those unfamiliar, Foundation of Funk is led by the original rhythm section of The Meters, bassist George Porter Jr. and drummer Zigaboo Modeliste, and features a rotating cast of all-star musicians. With the intention of keeping the music of The Meters alive and well, the band is frequently a multi-generational affair, with Porter and Modeliste joining forces with staples of the current live music scene to explore The Meters’ extensive songbook.
With their LOCKN’ set, Foundation Of Funk was celebrating The Meters’ 50th anniversary—with the pioneering New Orleans funk band winning a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award this year in addition to being nominated (and snubbed) for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame for the fourth time. Given that The Meters’ original keyboardist Art Neville rarely plays these days, for this special LOCKN’ performance on August 25th, Foundation Of Funk kept it all in the family, also inviting Art’s brother, Cyril Neville; son, Ian Neville; and nephew, Ivan Neville, along with Ian and Ivan’s Dumpstaphunk bandmate, Tony Hall.
For their set, Foundation Of Funk worked through a number of their classics in addition to standard New Orleans’ fare, with the high-octane set opening with “The Same Old Thing” and moving through “Pocky Way”, “Africa”, “Just Kissed My Baby”, and debatably The Meters’ most famous tune, “Cissy Strut”. From there, Cyril Neville made his first appearance of the set, coming out to lead vocals on “Gossip” and “Under The Weather”, truly solidifying the set’s feel-good, family vibe.
To close out the set, Foundation Of Funk welcomed out their friends from Dead & Company, with Bob Weir, John Mayer, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann taking the stage for renditions of “Iko Iko”, “Fire On The Bayou”, and “Ain’t No Use”. The sit-in was not necessarily unexpected, given that The Meters’ legendary bassist, George Porter Jr., is one of the rare few musicians who has previously sat-in with the Grateful Dead-inspired spin-off; during Dead & Company’s make-up New Orleans date in February, Porter joined the ensemble for takes on “Smokestack Lightning”, “Bertha’, and “Sugaree”, though has a long-standing relationship with members from the Grateful Dead.
Every member of the band, except for the guitarist, John [Mayer], I had played with, I knew, and was friends with. The first time they were going to come to New Orleans, Bill [Kreutzmann] had reached out to me about comin’ and sittin’ in, but then, that show was canceled. After the second one was confirmed, it was Mickey [Hart] that called and asked me if I wanted to come and sit in. Shortly after I heard from Micky, I heard from Bobby [Weir]’s front office, sayin’, “Bobby wanted to know if you could come out and jam with them?”
You can watch Foundation Of Funk’s celebratory set at LOCKN’ on August 25th, 2018, below, courtesy of Relix in partnership with Ben & Jerry’s and Airstream. The band’s set begins around the 7:33:00 mark, with members of Dead & Company coming out around 8:01:30.
Setlist: Foundation Of Funk | LOCKN’ Festival | Arrington, VA | 8/25/2018
Set: The Same Old Thing > Pocky Way > Africa > Just Kissed My Baby > Cissy Strut, Gossip*, Under The Weather*, Iko Iko*#, Fire On The Bayou*#, Ain’t No Use *#
* with Cyril Neville | with Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, John Mayer, and Bill Kreutzmann
For fans of George Porter Jr., don’t miss him on September 29th at the fourth-annual Brooklyn Comes Alive, where he will perform during a special set—also featuring Taz, Adam Smirnoff, Jeff Sipe, Peter Levin, and Elise Testone—honoring Col. Bruce Hampton, Butch Trucks, Gregg Allman, and those we’ve lost in addition to leading the inaugural land edition of Jam Cruise‘s Jam Room. Inspired by the vibrant musical communities of Brooklyn and New Orleans, Brooklyn Comes Alive brings together more than 50 artists, allowing them to carry out passion projects, play with their musical heroes, and collaborate in never-before-seen formations. For more information, ticketing, and to see the full list of performers scheduled for Brooklyn Comes Alive 2018, head to the festival’s website here.