Live in San Francisco
Since Nocentelli is comprised of two former members of the Meters, guitarist Leo Nocentelli and drummer Zig Modeliste (augmented by Kevin Walsh on keyboards and Nick Daniels on bass), it is no surprise that they have mined some old territory by including five songs co-written with their old band. However, it is the way the band extends and improvises on such gems as "Fire on the Bayou" and "People Say" that really puts fire into the songs.
Leo Nocentelli gets to show off his considerable talents as a guitarist with several solo runs in each song, while Daniels' bass keeps the grooves sounding funky. Other tunes they retread are "Hey Pocky Way," which keeps more in line with the Mardi-Gras flavor of their past work, and "Cissy Strut," with its syncopated sound that comes closest to the original.
The surprises start with the third cut as vocal duties are turned over to Daniels for "Que Sera, Sera." He makes it a soulful blues that smolders with passion, but the band makes the smoldering burst back into flames with hot guitar and keyboard solos. Add a couple Nocentelli funky tunes, such as "Come Back Jack," with strong interplay between keyboards and bass, and the great guitar hooks and bass of"The Hype and the Hoopla," and it feels like you were almost there.
There's only one tune that's unnecessary; "Doops Interlude," a minute and a half toss-off, but it's a minor distraction. For those who never got hip to the Meters, Live in San Francisco is a great incentive to get a second chance at their music, and an even better way to discover the talent that Leo Nocentelli has been burning to share with audiences.
-- John Koetzner