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G. Love & Special Sauce: Love for all

G. Love & Special Sauce, Slightly Stoopid

Crystal Ballroom

1332 W. Burnside


Wednesday, Oct. 16

8 p.m.


All ages

Everyone needs a little lovin’, and G. Love & Special Sauce is just the band to dish some out. Playing at the Crystal Ballroom next Wednesday, G. Love will lead you into a comfortable daze with their “sloppy blues” and numerous love songs backed mostly by happy, uplifting music. Impossible as it is not to sway (and occasionally bounce) to the almost jazzy beats of some songs, just hearing G. Love’s friendly voice makes you want to hang out with the band. Their music is light, but not insubstantial, and carefree without being ignorant. This band is impossible to classify, as they fit partly into so many different genres of music and wholly into none.

“G. Love” is Garrett Dutton, the lead singer and guitarist of the band. Using his harmonica, he relaxes his Philadelphia-accented rapping. Bass player “Jimi Jazz” is Jim Prescott, who lays down a nice line to keep the songs going. “Houseman” is Jeffery Clemens. More than just a drummer, he also pens a column for Drum Magazine. G. Love joined up with the Special Sauce band in 1992, and the band’s debut sold 200,000 copies (mostly at colleges) with little radio coverage. They then signed with the Sony imprint Okeh.

The band has produced eight bootlegs by themselves and has come out with six albums through Sony/Okeh. The singles “Baby’s Got Sauce” and “Cold Beverage” are fan favorites. Philadelphonic is their best-known record, featuring such songs as “Rodeo Clowns” and “Kick Drum.”

Before a greatest hits album was released earlier this year, the most recent release was Electric Mile. Their first album with a “Parental Advisory” sticker, this record has Sublime-like guitar riffs and lyrics more political (and angry) than previous albums. The song “Unified” talks of racism versus unity and explains that being unified “could be so nice, but the world is not ready.” Still, G. Love would never leave out the songs about the women he loves, and there always seem to be plenty.

Radio play of G. Love is mostly limited to college and independent stations; corporate stations rarely, if ever, play their music. Part of mainstream media’s aversion to G. Love is that their music is so far from pop. It is beachy music. Not beachy like Gidget dancing to the Beach Boys, but beachy like passing a joint in a drum circle around a bonfire. G. Love & Special Sauce is pleasant, sociable music.

Opening for G. Love & Special Sauce is Slightly Stoopid, a punk band. Stoopid trivia: They were discovered and signed to Skunk Records by the infamous Brad Nowell, the late Sublime front man. Stoopid has performed for the ESPN X-Games and is a major player in the music scene of the West Coast’s skating/surfing/snowboarding community.

Singer Miles Doughty explains, “We sing about good times, smoking a lot of weed, partying and chillin’.” They are the perfect band to get you ready for what G. Love has got cooking.

Why should you go see G. Love & Special Sauce? You need to see them only because they make music that is in between genres, and this does not happen enough in modern music. It is not really blues, not really jazz, definitely not rock or punk, or even plain ol’ easy listening. Your dad might like this band if he listened to them, but that does not mean that you cannot like them, too.

G. Love does not have the cultural influence of Bob Dylan or the vocal range of Luciano Pavarotti, but what he does have is a certain je ne sais quoi. This music’s appeal is that it is just as good as singular entertainment as background noise. G. Love & Special Sauce is versatile in that it fits any situation or mood, especially those in which you are just spending time wasting time and need something that will not make you think, but will make you smile.