Photos and Review by: Daniel Merlino
Author’s Instagram: merlinofotografia
Date: October 3, 2023
Location: Tower Theatre, Oklahoma City, OK
DRUMMER, GUITARIST, BASSIST, and Mastering Engineer Nate Wood quickly won the crowd’s hearts and attention with incredible competance over each instrument at his disposal. His drumset was made up of, well, drums, but had synthesizers stacked to either side, sampling pedals, and auxiliary percussion. It was built around him also wielding a guitar or a bass at any time, all while singing with a headset microphone. He told stories and livened the mood with playful banter, all while being buried within instruments Mr. Wood found a way to achieve a form of stage presence that was intoxicating and welcoming. His drumming technique was impeccable by the way, “featured in Modern Drummer [magazine] in March of 2014, and placed in the 2015 Modern Drummer reader’s poll among the top 5 drummers in his category.” (Nate Wood Bio)
I am a University of North Texas alumni, so Michael League’s name was no surprise. UNT has a fantastic jazz program, which fed into the first instantiation of Snarky Puppy during Mr. League’s freshman year. After gaining performance experience with Dallas’s music scene, Mr. League relocated to Brooklyn, New York around 2009. Moving on to secure five Grammy Awards and five producer nominations, Snarky Puppy received critical acclaim.
The entire stage was packed with people and instruments, a complex homogeneous organism of sound and expertise. Mr. League’s endearing storytelling and presence added to their overall enthusiasm and lifted the crowd into high spirits. I must say, Mark Lettieri’s guitar tone is some of the best I have ever heard, live or otherwise. I could go on and on about the musicianship of each member, from the synthesizers of Justin Stanton, Bill Laurance, and Bobby Sparks to the phenomenal horn section. Half-way through the set I began to plan on breaking out my fretless P-Bass from its hibernation and dusting off my BOSS octave pedal. This is the most inspired I have felt in quite some time and I thank Snarky Puppy for their dedication, skill, and genuine love of music. Please continue to inspire, write, collaborate, and perform.
Catch Snarky Puppy on their remaining tour dates through December promoting their new album EMPIRE CENTRAL.