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Snarky Puppy steps up with new tunes in triumphant return to LA's Orpheum Theatre / Live For Live Music

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There is a certain freedom that comes with being an instrumental outfit like Snarky Puppy. Whereas a vocally-focused act may feel compelled (if not outright implored) by its fans to roll through all the same hits, show after show, until the tread wears off, those that eschew lyrics-and, ideally, compensate with spirited instrumentation-are granted more leeway for experimentation by default.

Not that bandleader and bassist Michael League would've let on otherwise. He certainly didn't during Snarky Puppy's triumphant return to the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles on the final Friday of May.

As his 11-piece ensemble soared through a slew of songs off 2019's Immigrance including the Justin Stanton-penned "Bad Kids to the Back", League took a moment to acknowledge the packed house and thank all those in attendance for bearing with the fresh cuts. He joked that he couldn't tell whether the crowd was clapping because they disapproved of the new material or the old. He spoke of the pleasure of moving forward in the band's catalog after spending so much time drawing from the same well of material on recent tours-as if anyone would've taken issue with Snarky Puppy's expansive array of musicians coming together for yet another sustained blast of brilliant sonic fusion, no matter what songs were on offer.      Photo: Brandon Weil

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