Tedeschi Trucks Band at House of Blues, 7/12/2013
At its best, live music can be a life-affirming, soul-nourishing, and joy-inducing experience. Those may sound like empty platitudes, the kind of catch-all catchphrases that might be printed on a plaque at the Hallmark store of spew from the mouth of Stuart Smalley.
But Friday night at the House of Blues, the Tedeschi Trucks Band delivered all three of those things and more in a sonic stew that mixed rock, blues, jazz, funk, R&B, and gospel, touching on material from their debut record Revelator, tracks from the upcoming Made Up Mind (due August 20) and choice covers that added something to the originals. And it offered the faithful and kind of spiritualism not found in many houses of worship.
The 11-piece ensemble led by Derek Trucks (lead guitar) and Susan Tedeschi (vocals/guitar) is, foremost, an actual ensemble and not just a backing band for the husband-and-wife duo.
Every player got a chance to shine on his instrument be it voice or drums, sax or trombone: Kofi Burbridge (keyboards/flute), Tyler Greenwell and J.J. Johnson (drums), Make Mattison and Mark Rivers (backing vocals), the horn section of Kebbi Williams (sax), Maurice Brown (trumpet) and Saunders Sermons (trombone). Touring bassist Eric Krasno is subbing for the on-hiatus Oteil Burbridge.
TTB came storming out with fan favorite "Don't Let Me Slide" from Revelator, and indeed the audience responded to other tunes from that record like "Ball and Chain," an elegant "Midnight in Harlem" (with a great Williams solo) and -- later -- the positivity-infused "Bound for Glory."
And while there seemed to be less of Trucks' signature slide workouts than last year's Houston show, just his run from "Love Has Something Else to Say" shows why he is a real master of the style.
Judging by the songs the band played from the upcoming Made Up Mind, their sophomore effort promises to be a looser, funkier affair. The title track is a smokier mashup of TTB and the Famous Flames, with Tedeschi's trademark raw wailing blending with Rivers as co-vocalist.
"Part of Me," the instrumentally expansive "Don't Drift Away," and the Mattison-sung "Do I Look Worried?" also sound like they'll be record highlights. The new material clearly allowed Tedeschi to bring out more of her funny, sassy, and funky sides with big smiles throughout.