Photo byDenise Sullivan via Porter’s Facebook page
Meters bassist George Porter Jr. hosted his 65th birthday bash at New Orleans’ Howlin’ Wolf on December 26. As promised, the evening featured three segments that surveyed his current projects. Porter opened the evening with The Trio, his regular jam session at New Orleans’ Maple Leaf. Each week he is in town, Porter and drummer Johnny Vidacovich host a weekly show with a rotating special guest. For his birthday set, Porter chose noted jazz trumpeter Nicholas Payton to round out The Trio. Next, Porter anchored a group featuring his 7 Walkers frontman Papa Mali, guitarist Billy Iuso and drummer Eddie Christmas. Tab Benoit, an unannounced guest due to radius clause restrictions, also sat in for the second half of the group’s set. Porter used the set to focus on more bluesy material and nodded to the Grateful Dead songbook with “Sugaree” and “Mr. Charlie.” Finally, Porter closed the night with his Runnin’ Pardners band. A mix of current and former members joined Porter Jr.’s ensemble, including Brint Anderson, Michael Lemmler, Terrence Houston, Brian Graber and Jeff Albert.
Dumpstaphunk bassist Tony Hall and former Dumpstaphunk drummer Raymond Webber also sat in during the Runnin’ Pardners’ performance.
Porter was in festive spirits during the show. Early on, he took the stage in a Santa hat and tie-died Santa jacket. His family also surprised him with a cake onstage.
Porter and Hall will share the stage on December 31 when The Funky Meters and Dumpstaphunk perform at Port Chester, NY’s Capitol Theatre.