George Porter Jr. and Runnin’ Pardners were on hand at this past weekend’s Suwannee Surprise to help give music-starved fans a funky good time during the pod-style two day event at The Spirit Of The Suwannee Music Park. Porter, the legendary founding bassist of The Meters, brought his whole bag of tricks to the Funk Stage, presenting mix of tunes from all stages of his long and storied career, from classic Meters grooves to songs from the newly released 2021 Runnin’ Pardners LP, Crying For Hope.
Drummer Terrence “Groove Guardian” Houston held down a deep and groove pocket that gave Porter plenty of room to work. The pair has operated as a rhythm section for so long that their communication has moved beyond telepathic and into the realm of a cosmic connection that can’t be broken. Guitarist Chris Adkins showed plenty of chops, going from slinky jazz inspired lead lines to thick power chords with infinite ease while keyboardist Michael Lemmler filled in all the sonic cracks with lush chords and a delightfully light tickling of the keys.
Related: George Porter Jr. Talks Art Neville, Allen Toussaint, & The Hindsight Of The Meters [Interview]
It’s impossible to overstate the formative effect that George Porter Jr.’s bass tone and organic style has had on the funk genre. His grooves are etched into the soul of the art form itself. The fact that Porter is producing new music that has the same irresistible draw as his previous work while still nailing the classics is a firm testament as to how much the sound is part of his essence, as well.
Despite his gravitas, Porter continues to exude a loving temperament, as evidenced by his taking a moment to address a young fan he had spotted in a front-row pod, ask him his name, and make sure he was feeling the vibe before chuckling to himself that another funk fan had entered the fold. The satisfaction he clearly felt knowing that he had, probably for the millionth time, served as a gateway to funk for a fresh soldier was a perfect summation of why George Porter Jr. does, indeed, matter.
L4LM contributor Rex Thomson was on hand at Suwannee Surprise to capture a few exclusive clips of George Porter Jr. and Runnin’ Pardners’ funky performance. Check out the videos below.
George Porter Jr. and Runnin Pardners – “Just Start Groovin'” – Suwannee Surprise – 4/16/21
George Porter Jr. and Runnin Pardners – “Cryin’ For Hope” – Suwannee Surprise – 4/16/21
George Porter Jr. and Runnin Pardners – “Careful Who You Idolize” – Suwannee Surprise – 4/16/21
George Porter Jr. and Runnin Pardners – “Porter 13A” – Suwannee Surprise – 4/16/21