If you were in or near Orlando on January 14th and you weren’t at the Lettuce and Break Science show at House of Blues, you missed out on one of the best shows so far this year, to be totally honest.
Not only was it a spectacular display of raw, jam-funkin’ talent from some of the festival scene’s best artists, but it was also an apparent magnet for tons of happy, good vibing people. I saw most of my best friends all together in one place and we were all compelled to throw down our best grooves because there was such an abundance of amazing feels waving through the air.
Break Science started out this early-running show pretty much right at 7 and, at first, it was surprising to see how few people were there. I was a little concerned that the show might not get the crowd it deserved, but by the time Break Science warmed up and started dropping some thick, wall-rattling bass bombs I began to notice people flooding in seemingly out of nowhere in great masses. That was a huge relief because as soon as that happened, Break Science responded naturally by turning the energy up to 11! A few songs in and the whole place was fully loaded and bumbling like a jiving beehive.
In case you’re not already familiar, Break Science is comprised of only two members and they still manage to throw down some phat, nasty jams just the same, if not harder, than most fully-fledged bands. Borahm Lee mans a DJ station and the keys like starship commander while Adam Deitch whips out all kinds of rapid-fire kung fu on the drums. Both of them expertly deal in the arts of DJing, triggering layers of electronic sounds and rhythms, but you will never see them miss a beat of their live performance to pose for pictures. This is not just another couple of head-bobbing, knob-tweaking button pushers; they actually have some serious chops on their respective instruments and this effectively makes their music all the more engaging to experience live. Check out this set of theirs from a year ago in New York if you want to see how awesome they are:
If you watch the video, you may get an idea of why they chose the name Break Science. They are kind of like music scientists that perform live experiments with splicing sounds that are heavy on the drums and bass and often have breakbeat qualities. It’s actually hard to classify their sound as any particular genre though since they mix such a variety of elements together in their laboratory.. er.. stage.
Anyway, I don’t think there’s much of a better way to lead into a set of Lettuce than after getting an intense Break Science workout. (Can you believe Adam Deitch pulls double duty between both bands for this whole tour by the way? Whoa. Someone’s been eating his Wheaties.)
Lettuce royally graced the stage and started out their set sounding surprisingly tame. I thought maybe Deitch was still catching his breath from that killer Break Science set, but it wasn’t long before I realized that they were all just pacing the music exactly as planned. This worked into a slow build up that gradually flowered into some of the most explosive climaxes I’ve ever experienced with jam band-style funk. We watched the show up in the balcony for awhile (pic below, taken from up there), but it was clear after trying both perspectives that the best place to be for this show was down on the floor, close to the action.
One song in particular, “Phyllis,” really floored me with all the dynamic power it packed. This was one of those songs where, closing my eyes at the beginning, I could imagine being a chill sloth walking with a slow, head-grooving, jelly-armed strut through a downtown cityscape. But it gradually transformed into something so much bigger as it began to build up. Before long, my imagination had shifted to the pace of running and flipping in crazy Super Mario summersaults up the side of a mountain, powering up each successive jump to fly to increasingly greater heights. Wahooo! Just when we reached the top of the mountain and shook our fists righteously to the heavens, Lettuce gave me wings to glide down lightly back to Earth through some fluffy clouds. I landed right back into my sloth groove and opened my eyes to lots of big smiles all around me. Hopefully some others had a similar journey on that one.
Another highlight was when guest vocalist, Alecia Chakour, joined Lettuce and gave me chills with her luscious and soulful voice. I always love when jam bands feature other artists and carry their music to unexpected new dimensions.
Here’s a video of that song, “Phyllis,” that I mentioned earlier, captured by the elusive Sober Goat (who I have still yet to meet, but he seems to be at most shows I go to. My friend and I joke that he’s some kind of secret agent.) Things start picking up around the 4:20 mark by the way. 😉
That was just some of the dressing on the salad, but there were so many other tasty morsels to experience from this dish of awesomeness.. I can’t even go into enough detail here, but I highly (highly) recommend you get some Lettuce in your life soon if you haven’t already. And above all, definitely catch the live experience!
Lettuce Live Review by Sean Dorsett.
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