Shout Factory presents
Funky Meters: Live From The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (2005)
"This is the band that put the 'unk' in funk..."- stage announcer
Stars: Art Neville, George Porter, Jr., Brian Stoltz, David Russell Batiste, Jr.
Director: Cilista Eberle
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:21m:46s
Release Date: 2005-01-25
DVD ReviewHere is another in Shout Factory's series of concerts recorded at the legendary New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, a massive 12-stage blend of music, featuring a mix of jazz, Cajun, zydeco, R&B, and just about anything in between. This disc highlights a 2000 show by the Funky Meters (an offshoot of The Meters), one of the so-called "founding fathers of funk", whose 25 year career must say something about their staying power, even I don't personally care for it.
I'm not a huge fan of the whole jazz/blues/funk vibe, and the Funky Meters are literally full of it, so on an entertainment level this 80-minute concert was something a challenge to sit through. The songs do tend to sport long, meandering solos, and I often had difficulty focusing on anything but hoping a given tune would end soon. Sad to say, but this kind of music just makes me unnaturally edgy, like I had too much coffee.
But I'm no dummy—mechanically and musically I can recognize the kind of talent that has allowed the band to have such a lengthy career in their genre, and I know enough to realize that original The Meters members Art Neville (keyboards/vocals) and George Porter, Jr. (bass/vocals) are the band's catalyst. That's all well and good, so don't let my general dislike of this type of music taint your potential appreciation, because the Funky Meters do play solidly executed jazz/funk, and if blues-tinged guitar solos get you hot, then you'll find 80 minutes worth of jam band to move your feet.
I'll pass, thanks.
Two (Funky) Minutes of Your Time
Chug a Lug
Saturday Night Fish Fry
They All Ask for You
Look-Ka Py Py
Little Old Money Maker
Ain't No Use
Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: C+
|Aspect Ratio||1.85:1 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: The disc is presented in 1.85:1 nonanamorphic widescreen. Considering the concert was recorded in daylight, there is not the usual problem of blooming or grainy stage lights; the transfer is clean, sporting fine detail and natural colors throughout.
Image Transfer Grade: B
Audio Transfer Review: Audio choices are either 2.0 stereo or 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround, and the differences are substantial. The 5.1 mix is dramatically more expansive, offering deeper bass that accentuates the band's funk aesthetic.
Audio Transfer Grade: B
Disc ExtrasAnimated menu with music
Scene Access with 11 cues and remote access
Music/Song Access with 11 cues and remote access
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring Beausoleil, The Music of Fats Domino
Extras Review: Extras include a set of three interviews (running a total of 21m:25s) from Art Neville, George Porter, Jr. and then one with both. Neville offers a nice history of the band, including their tours with the Rolling Stones and The Grateful Dead.
The disc is cut into 11 chapters, one per song.
Extras Grade: B-
Final CommentsIn music, substance is what you make of it I guess, and the funky jam band basslines of the Funky Meters does absolutely nothing for me. History and background aside (it is admittedly difficult to discount the presence of someone like Art Neville) their material touches that weird nerve in me that makes me wish it would all stop. From a technical standpoint, though, this concert has been captured well, and features a very active 5.1 mix.
Your enjoyment mileage may vary, but if the thwumping N'awlins funk, led by a couple well known names like Neville and George Porter, Jr., are your bag then by all means have at it and enjoy.
Rich Rosell 2005-04-29