I have three favorite jam bands: Mandrill, War, and Parliament-Funkadelic. The first two were in the DC area last week, though War at the Carter Barron sold out before I could cop tickets. And George Clinton is on tour again with Parliament-Funkadelic and will be at the 9:30 club in July. Life is good.
Mandrill was at the Birchmere while I was away on vacation, but fortunately they were also in nearby Annapolis this Monday at the Rams Head Tavern, and they jammed like they had never left the scene! Still gettin' it done! Mandrill stands ten strong, and with the four Wilson Brothers and some others from the original iteration and an outstanding selection of newer talent (notably on drum kit, lead guitar, and violin) they rocked all their hits in a breathless 90-minute set. Highlights included "Mandrill," "Fencewalk," "Children of the Sun," "Mango Meat," "House of Wood," "Get it All," and of course "Ape is High." Carlos Wilson's voice and flute were in fine form, as were Lou Wilson on trumpet and vocals, Ricardo "Doc" Wilson on Trombone and vocals, and Wilfredo Wilson on congas and vocals. Admonitions by the venue that the audience refrain from dancing went appropriately unheeded (as if the audience had any choice once Mandrill started jamming).
Mandrill has always been horn-strong, with trombone and trumpet, soprano and baritone saxes, all mic-ed, so the sound was deafeningly loud. My ears rang for hours after the show since I was sitting next to the stage. Back in the day, I used to shoot concerts with my ear next to the loudspeakers with no problem. Not any more.
Still, it was all worth it, and I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a concert so much.
World's greatest rock band: the Rolling Who?! The Grateful Duds?! They better reco'nize! Mandrill Rules!
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