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We all got funky when Lettuce returned to Milwaukee, bringing Ghost-Note with them.

Who cares about crummy weather when we can get Funked Up?!

By Lee Ann Flynn

Plenty of people in Southeast Wisconsin are already tired of the rudeness mother winter has shown us as she arrived, without an invitation, and way too early.  While Sunday night gave us another cold, wet, ridiculous reminder of that, mother winter did not stop several hundred fans from getting Funked Up with Ghost-Note and Lettuce at  Milwaukee’s Turner Hall.  

Introducing Ghost-Note

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So much can be said individually and collectively, including their extensive resumes, about the multi-award-winning percussion duo Robert ‘Sput’ Searight II and Nate Werth, who also has impeccable timing with their mesmerizing skills. My eye for detail could not help but appreciate Prince’s last bassist, Dywane Thomas, Jr, better known as ‘MonoNeon,’ who wears cool Neon colors and his bass is backward and upside down. 

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Guitarist Peter Knudsen makes it work with his indescribable genre of play, which he makes look so easy while sounding anything but easy. Keyboardist Dominique ‘Xavier’ Taplin also has a deep resume which includes Prince and Toto and he is another brilliant force of the band. Saxophonists Jonathan Mones (alto sax) and Mike Jelani Brooks (tenor sax) share the same impeccable timing and talent as everyone else.  

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It does not take much for us, the audience, to have decompressed and tuned into the wonderment of what Ghost-Note was serving which included songs from their “Swagism” album and even a new song, ‘Fatback.’  

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Lettuce is the modern gateway to the magic of Funk

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Lettuce is Nigel Hall (organ/keyboards/vocals), Eric Bloom (trumpet), Ryan Zoidis (Alto/Tenor/Bari Sax), Erick ‘Jesus’ Coomes (bass and cool glasses), Adam Deitch (drums) and Adam ‘Shmeeans’ Smirnoff (guitar). 

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There’s something so soothing and equally wonderful with how these men perform together and their light show adds to their poetry of music. I know many people who discovered they enjoy Funk by someone turning them on to Lettuce, either by catching a live show or listening to an album. Lettuce directly soothingly feeds our souls, between Nigel’s voice and the delicate blend of instruments.

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Love and Respect

Nigel immediately connected to Milwaukee fans by wearing a Jabbar #33 Milwaukee Buck’s jersey. He also honored the late Kofi Burbridge (keyboardist/flautist of Tedeschi Trucks Band) by having Kofi’s name on the side of his keyboard, which was also heartfelt by the audience.

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The Audience

The way I judge how an audience feels about the bands is based upon who I spot in the audience, which included several Milwaukee musicians, all performing in a variety of genres, and non-musicians, both of which were there to be Funked Up!  

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What we Heard

I was entirely caught up in the magic to confirm all of the songs with the people around me, although we did hear several songs from their latest album, “Elevate,” including ‘Everybody wants to rule the world’ and ‘Purple Cabbage.’  We also heard ‘Move on Up’ from the album “Rage.”

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I could not help but notice they sold out of their vinyl “Let it Fly” as I was hoping to buy one for myself. There were literally no complaints as I made my way out of the venue listening to people talk about how tight both bands were and how much fun they had getting Funked Up! 

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See full gallery of the night here!


Lee Ann Flynn: Music has always been the soundtrack of her life, starting with Stevie Wonder’s ‘Uptight,’ and all genres have been alright from there! A Chicagoland native who relocated to Milwaukee in 1996, and she loves to capture both energy and passion of musicians between her photography and writing.

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