Victor Wooten Band killed it in OKC

posted in Music on Mar 10, 2011

This is not from last night’s show, but it’s still awesome.

Some might say that I have an odd taste in music. I generally don’t care at all about lyrics, mostly because I can’t remember them, and the musicians that I admire most can actually play instruments. I suppose that doesn’t seem so odd, when you think about it. It’s a rather simple notion. In a musical landscape where style outshines substance ten to one, though, many great musicians get overlooked by the general populace. But I am not here to write about the awful state of popular music, I just want to gush a little bit about getting the chance last night to see one of my favorite musicians play live, in Oklahoma City, no less.

Victor Wooten may not be a household name; he’s not a teenage white boy that looks and sings like girl and he doesn’t hatch from eggs for attention. He simply throws down the tastiest licks on a bass guitar that you have ever seen. My first experience with The Woot (that’s not a real nickname, I just made that up) came in the mid nineties when I was given a Béla Fleck CD, namely Left of Cool. As an aside, if you know nothing of Béla or his band The Flecktones, I highly suggest checking out anything that he has been a part of. He’s amazing. From that album I grew a collection of Fleck music that all had healthy contributions from Wooten, the Flecktones’ resident bassist. From there grabbed Wooten’s 1999 album Yin Yang, and in 2004 was lucky enough to catch The Flecktones in Tulsa (after speeding heavily to get there in time from OKC). Upon hearing just the day before that Wooten would be in town again and with his own group this time, I threw my credit card at the computer and bought some tickets.

Just go to Youtube and search for “Victor Wooten.” Anything you find will be golden.

Played at the Coca-Cola Bricktown Events Center in OKC, the band consists of Victor, two of his brothers on guitar and keyboard, and from what I understand a relatively new-to-touring drummer that completely owns. You will forgive me if I do not recall the names of everyone at this moment, as I am still somewhat groggy from the awesomeness. I will research them today and just update this post if I find them. They played a set that lasted a little over an hour, with almost zero downtime during that period, opting instead to throw out meaty chunks of awesomesauce for the duration.

I don’t know if I have the vocabulary to accurately describe quality and musicianship of what I saw, but I will say that Wooten’s signature spin-the-bass-around-my-body move made an appearance. Also coming out was something I have never seen, which consisted of Wooten and his eldest brother on guitar coming together and playing each other’s instruments in a fashion that would make Boris Karloff happy. Basically, they came towards each other, arms outstretched like mummies, lifting their guitars parallel to the ground. They interlocked arms and proceeded to jam on the now flat, shoulder-height instruments. It was quite the spectacle.

I would be terribly remiss to not mention the second half of the event, considering it involves an exceptional bassist as well. I personally didn’t know of this person’s name until this show, but now I do and am happy for it. After Wooten and Co., The Stanley Clarke Band performed to much success as well. I won’t go into a ton of detail regarding their set, but let’s just say they are Grammy award winners, and Clarke played a solo upright bass piece that lasted about twenty minutes. It was awesome.

And not to end this on an open ended question or anything, but speaking of the Grammies, why can’t we ever get groups like these two to play during the show? You know, people with talent. Yeah, I get that it’s all about popular, Top 40 nonsense, but a five minute Wooten or Clarke bass solo would be the best piece of music to hit the Grammy stage in decades. But I digress.

This was the first stop in the tour for the groups, and I would suggest that you do yourself a favor and attempt to make a show if you can. Tour dates can be found here.