Snarky Puppy: Jaw Dropping and Blissfully Brilliant – Scala, London May 2014


The last time I saw Snarky Puppy live was Friday 2 May 2014, yes, just five days prior to this time. Why? Because they are exceedingly brilliant. After reading that, understandably you might consider not continuing to read this, but I’m sure you're all keen to know why I have made a point of seeing them so often and making them sound like they are absolutely outstanding composers, performers and artists, right?

It’s a busy, warm evening across the road from London's Kings Cross Station. Everyone is waiting in line to get into Scala, only to look across the road and see Michael League, the front man and bassist for the band, giving us a cheery smile and wave as he makes his way to a pasta takeaway restaurant. Having met these guys before, I can tell you they are the most down to earth, talented and budding musicians I have ever met, and that says a lot considering I am studying a music degree. These guys will have a drink with you and let you in on some secrets as to how they create such magic. Now let’s compare that to Courtney Love who walked out of a show in Leeds last Friday, signed a couple of tickets, told people not to take pictures of her, then stormed off into her tour bus saying ‘I’m too fucking tired, I am going to bed’. Yeah, Snarky Puppy kinda deserve more attention than they get.

There was no support act upon entry to the venue, however it was compensated by the jaw-dropping, two-hour-long set in which they presented blissfully. It didn't take the audience two minutes to break into dance when the Puppies’ dropped their Brazilian, Tangoish style tune to open with. As time went on and the band gradually dropped into their mellow, laid back vibes, the audience died down and didn't seem so engaged. On the other hand, I could look at some members of the audience and I could tell who were musicians and who were not as the musicians were pulling their unattractive ‘bass faces’ to Mr League’s super impressive bass solos. Musicians seem to understand what they don’t understand when it comes to Snarky Puppy. By that I mean, they understand just how complicated and technically challenging what they do is, but they do not understand how they do it, as it is so freaking good!

This all changed however, when the Grammy Award-winning band kick out their new tunes to the audience from the latest album We Like It Here with charts such as ‘Shofukan’ and ‘What About Me’ where ‘Sput’, the drummer, never fails to impress with his time-lapsing drum fills. Of course, ‘Thing Of Gold’ was played, where a sense of magic lifted from the audience as they all sung the melody, soon to be blown away by the face-melting keys solo.

Snarky Puppy are without a doubt, one of the most talented up coming artists at the moment, and if you're into jazz, funk, rock, blues or even trance dance music, the Puppy’s have something in store for you!

– George Charlie Gill