The non-profit group Working Californians put together an unbeatable lineup of old-school legends for its 2015 edition of Nightshift, an annual Labor Day party in Exposition Park. Opening band James Andrews’ New Orleans All Star Band, with Cyril Neville, Rockin’ Dopsie Jr, and Leo Nocentelli wrapped up with a group singalong on “Hey Pocky A’way” that saw audience members swinging handkerchiefs in perfect rhythm, it was a rowdy, joyous start to the afternoon.
More photos after the break
The Wailers, of course, still perform a set composed mainly of Bob Marley’s greatest hits, with bassist Aston “Family Man” Barrett, who played with Bob Marley in the 70s, And it turns out, this is very good summer-BBQ music, perfect for listening while sipping a drink in the shade with a bunch of other folks at a picnic, swaying in the afternoon’s first hint of a breeze.
Sheila E was backed by a full crew of pop-and-lockers as cameras rolled for her new video. When I first saw this band, I remember thinking they would be a perfect complement to a P-Funk show, and I turned out to be right.
Local food vendors were in attendance, with tasty, perfectly slow-cooked ribs from the Smoke House BBQ and fresh, moist cupcakes from Big Man Bakes. Lots of attendees came prepared with matching seat and umbrella sets, creating mini-encampments on the lawn. Blues-festival regulars know how to prepare for such events.
Parliament-Funkadelic hit the stage with “The Mothership Connection” and let fly in their usual loosey-goosey manner for the next 90 minutes. The biggest crowd response was for their usual dance-floor fillers, “Flash Light”, “Give Up The Funk” and “Atomic Dog,” which, when you think about it, is just about the greatest 1-2-3 punch you could ever be handed at a funk show. I mean, after all that, if you ain’t gonna get it on, take your dead ass home. Seriously.
Excerpts by Bob Lee from Nightshift 2015 Labor Day Party: Live Review