By Andy J. Gordon
The Mint in Los Angeles was the place to be for classic funk delivered by the incomparable Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste and his all-star band. Modeliste was the original drummer of the Meters and his talent, warmth, and charm solidified the support of an already funk loving group of fans. The August 18, 2011 show was an exploration of Modeliste’s catalog of Meters classics, a few new funky gems, and some choice covers.
Modeliste is a legendary figure in the funk world, and his drumming technique has been copied by a legion of disciples over the years. He continues to release new music and his 2011 album, New Life, has songs that are as fresh and vibrant as some of the Meters classics. Modeliste (www.zigaboo.com) came to the Mint with a stellar supporting band. Jimmy Earl on bass, and Jeff Babko on keyboards are two regular members of the Jimmy Kimmel Live rhythm section. Matthew Charles Heulitt on guitar and backing vocals has been with Zig for 12 years. Rounding out the group was a new member of the band, and fine guitarist, Greg “G Man” Dalton.
The show opened with a few instrumentals that gave the band an opportunity to display their chops. Jeff Babcock played a particularly funky organ solo and both guitarists ripped solos as well. Zig sang “Standing in Your Stuff” from the 2000 release Zigaboo.com, which got the crowd dancing. They followed with a Meters classic, “Cardova” that segued into the Isley Brothers’ “It’s Your Thing.” “American Way” from 2004s I’m On The Right Track was followed by Zig introducing himself and the band. He talked about how thankful he is that people came out to support live music. The set ended with two more Meters songs, “Liver Splash,” and “Just Kissed My Baby.”
The second set opened with another Meters classic, “Cissy Strut.” “I Like it Like That” and “Shake What Ya Got” kept the crowd dancing. Zig closed the show with two more Meters favorites, “Africa” and “Hey Pocky A Way.” Modeliste plays drums with a relaxed style, but his unmistakable rhythm and expert technique made his performance unforgettable. He is one of the few living treasures of funk music that is still going strong, and still creating great music. Music fans should take advantage of every opportunity to see him live and check out his new material.
Photos courtesy of Andy J. Gordon