A Year and a Night With G. Love & Special Sauce

The Philadelphonic Philms Presents offering is a documentary film looking into the touring life of one of Philly’s hippest exports, G. Love and the Special Sauce.   The DVD comes packaged with a live concert from the Electric Factory.

It is a straight forward offering of G. Love and his band’s unique B-Boy blues.  The opening track "I.76" flaunts G’s guitar abilities and really gets things revved up.  The show keeps things moving as it jaunts through the band’s 13 year song catalog.  Marc Broussard joins in on the fun for “Let the Music Play,” a song that he and Ben Harper both guest on for the Lemonade release.  This performance somewhat falls short of the studio version, but rightfully so with the missing guitar work and vocals of Harper.   

Donavon Frankenreiter joins the band for “ Hot Cookin,” and really helps stir the sauce with a strong effort on guitar.   The hits continue to play out for a while and culminate with the set-ending “Cold Beverages.”  All in all the set is a great freebie for fans to enjoy; yet as a stand alone album may have been a mild flop. 

The real heart and soul of the sleeve is the video.  Many documentary-style videos, “inside looks” if you will, fail to deliver the goods.  Sure, they are never going to show the mounds of cocaine, wild late nights with wild beautiful men and women. and excessive boozing, but a little tease goes a long way.  More importantly, they often don’t really show the true character of the musicians – what they are like when they walk away from the stage and the spotlight.    Though this effort stumbles at times it does disclose some roots. 

The documentary does time with all of the members of the band.  Jeffery “Houseman” Clemens explains the connection between the musicians, and how even though they don’t always agree they have a magical gift of making it come together.  Jimi Jazz Prescott shows his true identity as the guy you want to sit on the couch, get high and watch football with.  He truly is out there every night for the music, and often clashes with the rest of the band.   He especially seems to get under G’s skin, with his carefree attitude, and dissimilar attitude toward wardrobe.

If you thought G. Love would often be surrounded by lovely young girls vying for his attention, you were not too far off the mark.  At times the documentary shows him self-loathe through some break-ups and disappointments.  At times he also comes across as contrived and concerned with trivial mattersfor a man of great talent – he picks at his band members for not looking a certain way, or not allowing them to have a voice in the musical direction of the band.  Yet in the end, you can’t help but love him and his fly Philly style.     

There is some great live footage throughout, and an overall entertaining outlook on life in a tour bus.   Most certainly the best part of the video is the cinematography.  It is grainy, and saturated with the feeling of a family home video.  This is something that G. Love fans will enjoy watching – there are truly some unique moments caught on film.