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Issue 1084

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Larry Graham & The Graham Central Station: KOKO 25/04/10

Larry Graham & The Graham Central Station: KOKO 25/04/10
Larry Graham & The Graham Central Station: KOKO 25/04/10 Larry Graham & The Graham Central Station: KOKO 25/04/10 Larry Graham & The Graham Central Station: KOKO 25/04/10 Larry Graham & The Graham Central Station: KOKO 25/04/10 Larry Graham & The Graham Central Station: KOKO 25/04/10 Larry Graham & The Graham Central Station: KOKO 25/04/10 Larry Graham & The Graham Central Station: KOKO 25/04/10 Larry Graham & The Graham Central Station: KOKO 25/04/10 Larry Graham & The Graham Central Station: KOKO 25/04/10 Larry Graham & The Graham Central Station: KOKO 25/04/10 Larry Graham & The Graham Central Station: KOKO 25/04/10 Larry Graham & The Graham Central Station: KOKO 25/04/10 Larry Graham & The Graham Central Station: KOKO 25/04/10 Larry Graham & The Graham Central Station: KOKO 25/04/10 Larry Graham & The Graham Central Station: KOKO 25/04/10 Larry Graham & The Graham Central Station: KOKO 25/04/10 Larry Graham & The Graham Central Station: KOKO 25/04/10 Larry Graham & The Graham Central Station: KOKO 25/04/10 Larry Graham & The Graham Central Station: KOKO 25/04/10

Larry Graham had not hit town for fourteen years, so expectations were naturally running high, besides this was the last night of tour. Was the godfather of slap bass going to deliver? After all, he was 63 and coupled with travelling problems due to the volcanic ash was even going to turn up?

Thankfully, yes and his entrance through the crowd excited everybody. Larry has bags of charisma and soon had us eating out of his hand with his calm rhetoric and measured beginning. The band eased their way through tunes such as a deep down and dirty version of 'I Can't Stand The Rain' complete with sassy female vocals plus a few GCS hits such as 'Feel The Need' and the catalytic Stevie Wonder classic 'Higher Ground' up until this the band had been cruising so finally the funk was filtering out and Larry's thunderous bass began to take reign!

Graham, resplendent in white has rarely been out of the limelight since he left Sly and the family Stone in 1972. His band Graham Central Station reeled off a string of impressive bass-driven albums for the remainder of the â70s, with incredible thump-led tunes like 'Hair' and 'The Jam.' Grahamâs vocal-oriented solo material made him a star all over again in the â80s, with ballads like 'One In A Million You' and 'Just Be My Lady.' Since the late â90s heâs been living in Minnesota, collaborating with and spiritually counseling Prince. The man was still on top form, at the pinnacle of his creative heights and his tightly honed band laid it down tune after tune.

I don't think I've witnessed such ferocious "on the money" funk ever! Brian Brazil's straight, powerhouse, in the pocket drumming style matched Larry's push and pull perfectly. The engine was on fire!! The vocal arrangements were spot on too with up to five part harmonies going on as well, this was genius incarnate!

Larry treated us to a solo slap extravaganza that sent the crowd wild, the creator of the idiom was in his element. It's no wonder at all that he is adored by the likes of Stanley Clarke, Bootsy Collins, Mark King, Victor Wooten, Flea, Verdine White and many, many others.

Just when you thought the concert couldn't get any better. Larry called out "what Sly tunes do want us to play?" 'I Want To Take You Higher', 'Everyday People', 'Dance To The Music' were peeled off like crisp dollar bills and the place erupted when musicians in the audience were invited to joined in on a once in a liretime impromtu jam! Larry, ever the showman restored normality again with the glorious 'Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf again)' showing us all his consistent virtuosity.

Pandemonium continued, culminating with everybody invited up on stage to produce an exciting finale. This had been an exciting night, with the funk in us fully satiated. Larry quietened things down to just his gospel tambourine playing and led his band out through the crowd, like the pied piper of funk and left us floored with his magic and the glimpse of the promised land. As dazzling as the decades he dominated LG is still quite the tour de force to be reckoned with. The man has real presence. God bless you Larry G!!
Words Emrys Baird

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