G. Love returned to Happy Valley Tuesday night. This time he performed at the State Theatre with his band Special Sauce and opening act Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad. The night was packed with Feel Good music, a vibrant atmosphere, and a decently energetic crowd.
Garrett Dutton, better known as G. Love, last appeared on the Penn State music scene at Rock the Vote with long time friend Jack Johnson. Last night, however, G. Love and Special Sauce headlined, featuring songs all across the band’s 11 album discography as well as G’s 4 solo albums.
The Rochester, NY based opening act, Giant Panda GDS, got the crowd going with a blend of Country, Reggae, and Nostalgic Americana music. Their rhythm ranged everywhere from up-tempo, foot-tapping dance songs to slow-jam head swaying love songs. Check out the band’s song “All Night Music.”
After a brief intermission, G. Love and Special Sauce strolled out onto the stage. G had his harmonica neck brace on and took a seat at the helm of the stage. Bassist, Timo Shanko, grabbed his upright bass and swung it around his shoulder. Drummer, Jeffrey “Houseman” Clemens, counted off and the band opened up with “Peace, Love and Happiness.”
They carried on through two more songs, “Making Amends” and “Shooting Hoops”, before G. Love even addressed the crowd saying, “It’s great to be back!” And then went on to play a number of songs from their 1994 self-titled album including “Rhyme for the Summertime,” “Garbage Man,” and “Blues Music.”
Throughout the set list, each member had their moment in the spotlight. G. Love always managed to pull a harmonica or guitar solo out of his pocket. Timo would pluck away on the funkiest of bass solos and Houseman kept the drums jazzy, even during the breakdowns and interludes.
G. Love and Special Sauce played for an hour straight, until they closed their set with “I-76” and “Cold Beverage.” Then they walked off the stage, leaving the crowd chanting and cheering for an encore. After what seemed like just a few seconds, G. walked back out onto the stage and picked up his acoustic guitar. He went on to play two solo songs “Heaven” and “Gimme Some Lovin.” He called for his band mates to take the stage once more, where they played out the show and even featured a few members from Giant Panda on songs like “The Road” and “Rainbow.” This concert was without a doubt an authentic blend of genres all across the musical spectrum.