G. Love & Special Sauce

Musical chef G. Love and his two-piece Philly-based band Special Sauce whipped up a five-star buffet of grooves and beats on Wednesday at the first of two sold-out shows at the El Rey, where the 26-year-old singer-guitarist sampled four pop food groups -- rock, funk, jazz and hip-hop -- for a satisfying and filling feast.

With:
Band: G. Love, Jimi Prescott, Jeffrey Clemens.

Musical chef G. Love and his two-piece Philly-based band Special Sauce whipped up a five-star buffet of grooves and beats on Wednesday at the first of two sold-out shows at the El Rey, where the 26-year-old singer-guitarist sampled four pop food groups — rock, funk, jazz and hip-hop — for a satisfying and filling feast.

Touring to support his fine new “Philadelphonic” (Okeh/550 Music) album, the dapper G. (Garrett Dutton III) Love — ably backed by longtime stand-up bassist Jimi Prescott and drummer Jeffrey Clemens — used carefully measured ingredients from all four of his albums (released starting in 1994) to produce a refreshing, full-bodied creation long on soul and short on attitude.

With a harmonica hung around his neck and seated throughout most of the 90-minute show, G. Love and friends used such recognizable influences as Dylan (lyrics from “The Times They Are A Changin”), Charlie Parker, the Beatles (a surprise cover of “Norwegian Wood”), Led Zeppelin (the heavy riffing of “Garbage Man” from their first album) and Bob Marley (an indisputable peace and love vibe) as signposts, giving the show an unbeatable sense of casual exploration.

Other highlights of the charming show included the new “Rock & Roll,” which name-checks a number of G.’s hip-hop influences — the frisky “This Ain’t Living,” from the group’s excellent debut album, which got G. Love up off his stage stool, the sweet “Kiss & Tell” and the anthem “Stepping Stones.”

G. Love & Special Sauce

El Rey Theatre; 500 capacity; $17.50

Production: Presented by Goldenvoice. Reviewed Aug. 18, 1999.

With: Band: G. Love, Jimi Prescott, Jeffrey Clemens.

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