The funky rock outfit known as Lettuce is the main attraction at Blue Note Jazz Club throughout the rest of this week. The historically intimate venue nestled into the culturally rich Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City was filled with seated fans and curious adventurers for its opening night on Wednesday. While most folks arrived early to grab some of the food in a diner-like setting prior to the show, Lettuce took the stage promptly at 8 p.m. and dived right into the first of ten total sets that they'll play between Tuesday and Sunday morning as part of their five-day residency.
Lettuce has built a national following here in the U.S. thanks to their awesomely wild and powerful funk jams which typically don't include any lyrical interruptions to the ongoing flow of communal improvisation. The six-piece group fit right into the environment's well-established scene with their opening set, which lasted a fun 75 minutes before a one-hour break, dividing each of their first two separately-ticketed performances of night one.
The experience itself was not like a traditional Lettuce performance from an audience perspective. Those in the seated crowd were really grooving and into the music being pumped out from the stage, but being surrounded by dinner plates and post-work suit attire isn’t the usual kind of surroundings one will find themselves in at a typical Lettuce concert. Regardless of the more traditional scene, the band didn’t hold anything back on night one. Their footing in the smaller venue was firm, and required less amplification and sometimes power in exchange for fluidity, which they continuously pumped out from start to finish with an occasional brief pause between songs. Like most acts in the jam scene, Lettuce is well versed in non-traditional tempos and solo structures often found in jazz and certainly familiar to those who frequent the famous venue. If there was a theme to place on the first set of the opening night of their residency, it could be either “Groovy,” or slightly-softer “Space-Jazz,” but there’s no denying that it was pleasantly funky the entire way through.