For the last gig of their three night stand at Yoshi's, the Low Rider Band, aka WAR, offered a completely different level of quality than the first night's mediocre and sloppy late set.
Maybe it was the cameras filming them (absent on Thursday) or perhaps they just finally found their groove after three nights, but on Saturday the band showed up to play, and they seriously got down. Offering an hour and a half of solid funk, this was a completely enjoyable show which made me happy that I decided to go another night after Thursday's disappointment.
Howard Scott could play his guitar tonight and wisely handed off almost all the vocals to B.B. Dickerson, who has a great Frankie Beverly-style voice. All the songs were tightly performed, there were no lame sing-along attempts except for the obligatory "Low Rider" segment, which was much shorter and well-played last night.
Opening with a straightforward burn through "Galaxy," they then turned "Cisco Kid" into an extended jazz-infused jam, featuring nice guitar work from Stone. Next was a monster funk version of "Get Down" in tougher version than offered Thursday. "Low Rider" had a nice sax solo, and this time the sax player didn't try to follow along on the cowbell and mess things up, like he did on Thursday.
"The World is a Ghetto" features a burning solo from harmonica master Lee Oskar who just tore it up all night long last night. He was really the source of the band's heart during this great gig. Though he incorporated bits he did during other songs on Thursday, he really made the song into a soulful groove while Stone played a mean wah-wah guitar behind him. Also in the set were "Why Can't We Be Friends," "Slippin' into Darkness" and "Ordinary Man," which has the potential to become a hit for these guys judging by the audience response to this new song.
Yoshi's tried to end the set at that point, claiming something about "overtime after midnight"- what kind of policy is that for a jazz club? Anyway, the band exited the stage and then came back on a couple of minutes later while people were starting to file out. Harold was essentially saying "Fuck it, we're gonna play one more!" and the band gave an encore of "City Country City" that was terrific.
Last night- A+. Glad I was there. Three fingers and a smile- definitely.
One more thing- Yoshi's was totally packed for this show, and our cocktail server was taking care of the entire back tier, and she was awesome. Whoever you are, we really appreciated your service. Stupid corporate overtime policy aside, I think Yoshi's SF is a great venue.