Little Feat at the House of Blues (2006)

House of Blues, Cleveland, Ohio

21 July 2006

It was another enjoyable night of music for the forty and fifty somethings of northern Ohio, as well as a few new younger fans in the audience, at the House of Blues last Friday as Little Feat made their annual stop in Cleveland. The band opened with a series of songs that showed the diversity of the band, including several sung by Shaun Murphy (especially a great version of “Romance Without Finance”), one sung by percussionist Sam Clayton (“44 Blues”); and a blues jam with a great trumpet solo by guitarist Fred Tackett.

The band was just warming up the audience, and things really started to hit stride on their fifth number “Time Loves a Hero.” After that, for the most part, it was one Feat song after another, and the audience lapped it up and the band made each song, new or old, sound fresh and distinctive.

Amongst the highlights were Feat standards “Fat Man in the Bathtub,” “Gringo,” and “Dixie Chicken”; and covers of the Band’s “Rag Mama Rag” and Bob Marley’s “Get Up Stand Up.” Probably the one song from their vast catalogue that they do perform every night, the road anthem “Willin’,” sounded new, with it spinning off into and back out of “Don’t Bogart that Joint,” and featuring soulful solos by Tackett on mandolin, Paul Barrere on slide guitar, and Billy Payne on the piano. In this era of “jam bands,” this band is so tight this concert favorite was more like a jazz arrangement. As always, the band’s long time rhythm section of drummer Richie Hayward and bassist Kenny Gradney kept everything going forward.

Few bands have made better use of the internet than Little Feat, and you can check out their website at

Local jam band musician Jim Miller and his band opened and did a what every opening band should do: be good, don’t play too long, and get the crowd in the mood for the headliner.