Snarky Puppy Are a Waste of Your Time

Categories: Last Night

snarky-puppy-review.jpg
Snarky Puppy doing considerably less screwing around during the live recording of "Slow Demon."
On tape there's something eloquent, even graceful about how Denton-formed Snarky Puppy blend various streams of sound. A great deal of these recordings capture the group in a live environment, reflecting the searing energy and fluid ease with which these artists navigate the modern (jazz) fusion frontier. It's what has made them so exciting, on both a regional and national scale. It's also why there was a line wrapped around the block last night at the Prophet Bar. Everyone wanted a glimpse of the shiny beast live. To see and hear its majestic movements in the flesh.

The night started off magnificently. Opener Banda Magda was endlessly charming and refreshingly diverse. Wearing an apple red dress, with an accordion draped upon her shoulders, the wildly charismatic Magda (her sensual, knotted English could charm a stuck bull) began the set with a slithering ethno-gypsy number that sounded like Beirut doing tango. The performance danced about various world music touchstones: Greek, Brazilian, Argentinean and French, while never settling for pastiche. It was thoroughly tasteful and masterfully executed from start to finish. From space odyssey guitar to a flurry of Rhodes piano play, Magda and her Banda put on a rhythmically illustrious show that was nothing short of inspirational.

See also: Snarky Puppy are a Delight

Then there was an intermission, and soon the Prophet Bar was full. The audience was one of the most diverse I've seen at a Dallas show. You were as likely to see suits as street-wear. There were even a few suspender-clad fellas in the mix. There was a sense that half the crowd were music theory and ethnomusicology majors. As expected, the UNT students were out in full force. The tension was palpable -- a rumbling, small-talk groan --- and when the lights dimmed, whispers were exchanged for fevered chatter. A collection of horns with drizzles of hazy-edged string tones started things off for Snarky Puppy. There were an unusual number of band members standing around on stage, bantering. This would persist for the entire two hours. It was a worrisome omen.

I thought this assignment would be a breeze. After all, a colleague in London relayed that "wherever they go, they dependably blow off the roof." Experiences like that tend to write themselves. Unfortunately, the roof stayed fully intact.

Showy, cheesy and routined, Snarky Puppy were unconvincing from start to finish. There was no creativity on stage: Notes were carried like anchors and originality was nowhere in sight. There was no heat, no pulse, no sex, no life, just sounds that you've heard before (maybe in a commercial or elevator), and a stage presence that was plastic and overtly theatrical. You didn't have to be a connoisseur or a jazz purist to see it either. Technical know-how will tell you nothing about a performance's quality, but your nerves and gut will. My nerves said they were both wrecked and under-stimulated. My gut told me to drink 15 more beers, anything to distract me from the scarecrow circus that played out on stage.


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50 comments
uly59
uly59

The roof went off in Groningen Holland may 18 2014.

I'm glad i didn't stay home




andros
andros

I feel sorry about you... Do you even enjoy sex?

Dave
Dave

Snarky Puppy...better than your writing...

commiebiker
commiebiker

I didn't go to the show, (like many of the posters here) so I won't directly comment on the performance.  I would like to point out that at the very least, the Observer seemed to be the only media outlet in town that cared enough to actually send someone to record their impressions of the show.  

chillnscott
chillnscott

To be fair, the author didn't seem to be rolling balls at Snarky Puppy.  From his review last month of EDM fest, "Lights all Night," I'm not so sure:


"Now, there are two long-haired dancers on each side of the stage, spinning ropes of hair as their bodies contort, throwing beads of sweat that become airborne pearls when met with flashes of white. My God, it's all so beautiful."


"And the instructions from up on high keep raining down. 'I want to see everybody take your shirts off,' so we do.....this is the closest to a dream that real life gets...I've never been so alive...In a moment of clarity I notice, for the first time, the guy next to me... This is the single most joyous live performance I've ever experienced."


(http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/dc9/2014/01/major_lazer_review_photos.php)



oneredrubi
oneredrubi

Snarky Puppy is a great band with an amazing sound! I was there Tuesday and the energy in the room was high! I'm sorry you couldn't feel that Jonathan Patrick. Maybe next time. Congratulations Grammy award winning Snarky Puppy! I love you guys!

larondayvette
larondayvette

If you are going to speak negatively about someone or something, you have to maker sure that you are on point. As a writer, it is second nature to make sure that you writing in the correct tense. Snarky Puppy is a group, hence the name is singular. It is very hard to take you writing serious when you make juvenile mistakes such as mixing singular nouns with plural verbs.

It seems as if you attended the Prophet Bar to find something wrong with Snarky Puppy. They are an amazing group fresh off of a Grammy win. What is there not to like about them. Their music makes everyone feel good. You cant help but to smile when you hear them play.

As a writer, you have an obligation to be honest with your readers and sir with this article you did just the opposite. Please consider your audience as well as your obligation when it comes to your upcoming writings. Being able to bash someone does not make you a great writer, it just makes you some with a keyboard and a less informed opinion.

jamin_music
jamin_music

Snarky Puppy won "Best Jazz Act" in the Dallas Observer Music Awards three years in a row (2008, 2009, and 2010). I just think it's funny that the Dallas Observer says Snarky Puppy is a "waste of your time" now. I wasn't at the Dallas show, but I went to the Denton show the following night and they were not a waste of my time at all. 

AngusWynne
AngusWynne

Posted to Snarky Puppy's Fbook page just prior to reading this misbegotten review:


"Y'all KILLED a full house, all demographics, all having the time of their lives--this band is definitely Michael League's Thundering Herd, and to see what you do live made for my most over-the-top show of this year--and maybe even this decade. Thrilling and UNTOUCHABLE in terms of quality and performance. Can't believe I can find no local press on this game-changing show--come back soon, and bring Shaun back with ya!"


The band deserved attention and, above all, insight, not a part-timer's attempt at making his bones. Do better next time.


(Apologies for the screamers--no italics available.)

darrylrs
darrylrs

Although it is the job of all critics to honestly write his/her opinion, I personally don't like trashing local bands. To be fair, the critic in this case seemed to say this was a bad night for the band.

mkaye.askins
mkaye.askins

This is seriously a horrendous review. But, I don't expect much more from the DO unfortunately. And sorry, not sorry, but Snarky Puppy is a singular noun. Singular.

waste_of_time
waste_of_time

The BEST part of this article are the site's editors going through comments and sticking up for their "journalist" - and that's awful.


Stirring the pot after the cooking's finished equates to nothing. I care less now about the review BECAUSE of the editors' need to stick up for the argument. 

jon_pats_mom
jon_pats_mom

Jon Patrick is an ass. This is just garbage journalism. Journalism should inform the reader...not only is this piece an insult to the reader, it only serves to show us Jon's narrow-minded and asinine point of view. This is truly just bad writing... 


Shaun Martin and Sput Searight (amongst everyone else on that stage, but these two especially) don't deserve this kind of press. These guys are local legends, and veterans of the Dallas music scene. Have you ever hung around Sandaga or the Free Man and seen these dudes jam? They are invaluable parts of Dallas music and Dallas jazz. 


The bottom line is that the playing on stage the other night was exciting, inspired, technically astounding, and they played to the crowd. It was a great set. Yeah, this isn't dubstep...it's the new era of jazz and improvised music. Major Laser isn't anything new (citing Jon's review of "the best show" he ever went to), Snarky Puppy is doing something incredible. 


I would have thought that The Dallas Observer would laude these fella's for Tuesday's performance. Way to completely shame them (wrongfully, mind you...) in their hometown. I mean come on man. These guys have been on the road for 8 years. What have you been doing?


But anyways, Jon, post this one on your 'rent's fridge. The Dallas Observer is a waste of a platform until we can get these entitled jerks out, and get some thoughtful and intelligent writers in. There is no room for self-serving, opinionated garbage like this. This was just a pointless piece. Too bad, too. I used to obsessively read the DO because it was good... 

Laura
Laura

I am amazed at ths review, they were our very favorite at the Monterey Jazz Festival. We left the arena with the headliners, to go to one of the smaller venues to see them after watching them on You Tube, and they were fantastic. The crowd loved them. They either had an off night, or this reviewer doesn't know what he's talking about. We are now crazy about Snarky Puppy! We love their various CD's and enjoy the You Tube videos to remind us of the fun we had in Monterey. I hope to see them live again soon.

aaron_d
aaron_d

 Hey Jon, I just wanted to apologize for the shitstorm you have to receive from butthurt Berklee students who think you're an idiot for not liking shitty Jazz-fuzion

danfoster
danfoster

It is obvious that this is a piece (of garbage) written to generate ad revenue, since trashing a popular group is destined to incite outrage.  Shame on you, Dallas Observer.  Jonathan Patrick, I would not call myself a musician if I could not play melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic ideas, so why are you calling yourself a writer when you cannot properly form sentences in the English language:  "Their concert was one big reminder that technical proficiency does not a good performance make." and "Tonight a band called Snarky Puppy are playing."  If you didn't like the concert, don't care for the style, or simply do not understand the music (which is apparent), why not just write that instead of overusing a thesaurus and creating obscure phrases that only social derelicts would understand?  Terrible...You should be ashamed of yourself.  If my first example of your poor writing is a bad attempt at a Yoda reference, maybe you should stick with something you know.  FYI, that would not be music (or writing).

waitwhat
waitwhat

Sounds like Jonathan Patrick needs to pop one of his parents Viagras and get laid. Jesus man, calm down.

kmrfc
kmrfc

This guy is one of those guys that got his job because he knows somebody not because he knows music . He probably has KISS FM on his presets .The observer needs to get better music writers . If this was a Kanye or Beyoncé show it would have been all praise even if it sucked. It's because Dallas is full of trendy materialistic bandwagon hipsters.

Joe2010
Joe2010

I am an ardent Snarky Puppy fan, but I see why the author was frustrated by last night's performance. It was a coming home party after the Grammys. Soon after the set began, there was an argument about what to play that ended with Sput shaking his head. Then Michael League kept trying to get a word in and was cut off several times by his band covering P Funk. He was visibly peeved and it took a lot away from the performance, especially if this was Mr Patrick's first time to see them. It sets the precedent for any newcomers to the show, and there are probably plenty given the buzz a Grammy begets, that Snarky Puppy is more a social event for fanboys than a product of disciplined musicians' hard work. This is driven home by people in the comments, throwing ad hominem at the author like crazy instead of addressing the content of the show versus his criticism. Was it harsh? Yes, too harsh probably given the context of last night. Should the band consider this review when getting ready for shows? Absolutely. They've won us musicians over with their mastery and creativity. The world needs more spirits like Snarky Puppy. They'll appeal to a broader audience and effect greater change in the music world with some professionalism.

megesanders239
megesanders239

The author of this article also wrote an article praising a Major Lazer show.  I am laughing so hard I have tears in my eyes.

niatsirc
niatsirc

I won't add to all the negative comments about the author's opinion. Maybe they had an off night, which as a performer I totally understand. Still, this is the first negative review I've read about one of their shows. It intrigues me: it'll be my first time seeing them next Monday. Snarky Puppy is probably my favorite band today, and I'm expecting to see them play a great set. If it's anything other, I'll come back here and tell you about it.

nachos4two
nachos4two

The Dallas Observer is a waste of my time. This article is garbage, and I feel sorry for anyone who ever gets a ride from whoever wrote it. I can only imagine the crap they listen to.

kevinjchosen1
kevinjchosen1

The waste of time was reading this suck butt article.... You're telling Dallas what it already knows..the Elites of this city don't, and probably never will give credit to the grassroots movements..it doesn't make them money. While you sat and pondered on what negativity you could spew onto you're readers. You should hand been enjoying the ambiance created by some of Dallas'own.. But you can't do that because it would cause you to reach beyond your pitiful self and your high minded friends at the observer. Snarky Puppy is one of the most original movements in music since pimping been pimping. This article sounds like something borrowed, like the ambition of being a "hard case"journalist,... Controversy is a cheap yet efficient way of trying to get some pub...but on the bright side, i finally read one of your articles.. I would have finished the last with your name but, who are you..i never even saw your name on the webpage... But SNARKY PUPPY, I KNOW THAT NAME. You should be happy that you got a read off of their fan base. ..what happened to hometown heroes, and support? Its been traded for one flash of attention..that's what this article is a flash barely even noticed in the gleam of the sound that brings light to our city.. THAT SOUND IS SNARKY PUPPY...AND THE SOUND WE DON'T HEAR..THAT'S YOU. LOSER

hwilliamsiv
hwilliamsiv

This article is a waste. Snarky Puppy is one of the greatest groups of musicians and some of the most humble and genuine passionate musicians I've have ever come across. Thumbs down to this article. Thumbs down.

jessica.beland
jessica.beland

THIS makes so sense. Oh wait. This is the Dallas Observer and this guys only other article was the best funk in Texas. No offense to Texas, Im sure there are a few great funk bands out of Texas, but come give this review in New Orleans, you know.. the birthplace of Jazz, where I dare ANY band to come hold their own just to our local 14 year old street performers, where bands have called out other bands in all out street battles, where kids are doing music on another level from the time they can physically carry an instrument... and where Snarky Puppy routinely gets the crowd JUMPING and the venue packed. Pfft please. Maybe he needs to stick with his Texas funk and leave the reviews to the professionals, mmmkay? Thx.

bpscholz
bpscholz

This article was a waste of my time.

Brittzkrieg
Brittzkrieg

Are you completely out of your mind? Snarky Puppy is damned amazing.

bclee2b
bclee2b

I've already posted and it seems to have been lost, so I'll just say this article is a waste of your time. Go read a real informed view somewhere else. This article is pretty much trash.

kellythompson198564
kellythompson198564

@larondayvette  Coming from the guy that types "you" instead of "your" and "you're."


"make sure that you writing in the correct tense."

"hard to take you writing seriously..."


iggy3087
iggy3087

@larry.powers44 Judging by your comment you obviously possess a highly refined sense of creative expression. Jon probably just doesn't "get it"...

gavin.cleaver
gavin.cleaver moderator

@danfoster  If you think that editors like myself or Kiernan send freelancers like Jonathan out to events and tell them what to write before and then tell them how to write it afterwards in an attempt to generate page views then you have less than zero idea of how any of this works. I'm not mad. I just think your point is utterly incoherent.

sputacular
sputacular

@Joe2010  Hey man, this is 'Sput' and I'd like to speak to you via email.... please contact me at sputacular@yahoo.com 

kmrfc
kmrfc

he probley rides the Bus around

gavin.cleaver
gavin.cleaver moderator

@kevinjchosen1  So... your argument is that a famous band who won a Grammy are better known than a local newspaper writer?

Joe2010
Joe2010

It's one in a million, but I've gotta ask: Kelly Thompson, like, Kelly "who took pictures of The Boat Lights beneath the underpass in Deep Ellum before they tore down for the DART station" Thompson?

danfoster
danfoster

@gavin.cleaver @danfosterWhere did I say that I think you tell your employees what to write?  I don't care if this author is a freelancer or a full-time employee; he's representing your company whether you tell him what to write or not.  By allowing this to be published in either online or paper format, you're allowing him to make your company look bad through his content and poor grammar and will lead to losing readers, such as the large demographic Jonathan just lost for you.

There's one thing I missed:  Is the title wrong?  Snarky Puppy is one band, not multiple bands, so would it be proper to write, "Snarky Puppy is a waste of time"?  I'm curious because I'm assuming someone gets paid to proofread, or is this all volunteer...sorry, I know "less than zero" about you guys.  If that poor grammar is not Jonathan's fault, I apologize to him.


Jonathan's other articles show that his music "expertise" is in a drastically different style.  Publishing his critique on an unfamiliar style as expert music critic testimony is analogous to publishing an expert football critic's article on a game of cricket.  We should definitely base our impressions about the game of cricket from that article because his extensive knowledge of football will definitely help, right?  I'm assuming that article would contain both uninformed observations, and be as verbose as Jonathan's.


It's a no-brainer that you would want to employ writers that will bring readers in to your site.  How is your company funded?  I honestly don't know, but I would assume it was partly through (paid or click) ads such as the myriad of junk on the right-hand column of this page and the advertisements in your printed version.  If that is the case, then controversial and/or sensationalist writers might temporarily bring you more views.  More views = more potential ad views/clicks = more revenue.  Please correct me if I have the wrong assumption, because I would love to know what possesses you to print articles like this.

I hope that is coherent enough for you, Gavin.  I can try to paraphrase it if I'm not clear.  I do apologize for any incoherency because I simply haven't spent as much time with the English language and am not paid to be expert like you and Jonathan.

Kiernan_Maletsky
Kiernan_Maletsky moderator

@gavin.cleaver @kevinjchosen1  Actually I think he's calling us the Elites! We're the Elites! Can Elites still hang out at the Doublewide or do I need to figure out how to park in Uptown? 

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