May 16, 2018

A post-arrest G. Love wows Ybor City' Crowbar with rare acoustic show


If you've ever had a phase of your life where you listened to Jack Johnson a lot, then you’ve heard G. Love at some point. If you’re like half the crowd that saw G. Love at Crowbar on Monday night, you probably didn't know that he got arrested two nights before in Boca Raton for possession of weed and a controlled substance without a prescription. Out of nostalgic desire and slight schadenfreude, I moseyed on down to Ybor City for the mellow musings of a man who used to surf with Jack Johnson (G. Love essentially broke Johnson by featuring a then burgeoning mellow-folk hero on “Rodeo Clowns,” from a 1999 album Philadelphonic).

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This year marks 25 years of G. Love and Special Sauce, a trio project featuring Garrett Dutton (G. Love), Jeffrey “The Houseman” Clemens on drums, and Jim Prescott on bass. Luckily police in Boca didn’t find G. Love’s “special sauce” as well, given that he has been performing a string of solo shows since aMay 10th show at COAST on Stock Island in the Florida Keys.

His arrest followed his solo show on May 11 in Boca Raton. He was charged with possession of 20 grams of marijuana, which coincidentally is the maximum amount you can possess in the city — it be considered a misdemeanor with a fine of $1,000 and up to a year in prison. One more g and Love would have been charged with felony possession at five times the punishment in both fines and possible prison time. No word about the nature of the controlled substance he possessed, but he would have been better off getting caught in Tampa where he would have likely just received a $75 fine and police would have split the medicine with him right down the middle (don’t hold me to that.) 

Don’t let my incarceration jokes fool you, this was a phenomenal show. The opener, Kristy Lee, was soulful. She had the sides of her heads shaved and a red bandanna around her forehead like a blood or a former GI. Her raspy voice mixed with her skillful guitar and charismatic storytelling made for an incredibly intimate performance with some romantic, and at times embarrassing, crooning of her supportive wife offstage.

G. had a total of four guitars on stage that were all tuned by someone from his team for about 15 minutes before he came on. He started out playing slide guitar and harmonica at the same time, an appropriate mix of blues for a recent detainee. But despite the recent arrest, he was all smiles and incredibly relaxed. With his wide black fedora, his nondescript Hawaiian shirt, and gold chain, he looked like The Millennial of Blackbird Pond (despite being 45 years old.)  Word of his arrest made its rounds before he came on, and by the time he hit the stage pretty much everyone would have known.


He opened with “Drinkin’ Wine,” stating, “Some people need cocaine, some people need some weed, but G. Love just needs some wine.” It was the first of many direct reference to the Devil’s Lettuce he would make throughout the night. At one point he tried to get the audience to repeat the words “Smoking weed, smoking weed, smoking weed,” which they did not. Seeing as this crowd was at a median age of around 35, they didn’t engage as enthusiastically as he wanted. Then he said something along the lines of, “Well I guess you’re going to side with the courts on this one,” but the mic was a bit fuzzy so we’ll never know for sure. The last reference was during a song about inviting friends over to his new house, in which he sang/rapped, “You got some weed, I’ve got some weed too,” the latter of which not being necessarily true unless he very recently re-upped. 

Dutton really is a showman though. Despite being alone onstage, he did an incredible performance of the song “Booty Call” in which he used his guitar to pantomime getting an erection. During the same song he also mimed out pulling a condom over the neck of his guitar, and as someone who grew up in Alabama public education, he already taught me more than my middle school sex ed class. 

After his incredibly smooth solo performance ended, he came back out for a multi-song encore duet with Kristy Lee which featured incredible chemistry. And probably for the best, this crowd of adults wasn’t in a hurry to go anywhere on this Monday night. But they shouldn't be in any rush, they paid the babysitter, they paid the ticket price, this is their night goddammit! 

All in all, fantastic performance from a seasoned singer songwriter vet.

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G. Love plays Crowbar in Ybor City, Florida on May 14, 2018.
Kaylee LoPresto
G. Love plays Crowbar in Ybor City, Florida on May 14, 2018.
G. Love performing at Crowbar on Monday night, continuing a string of solo shows.
Kaylee LoPresto
G. Love performing at Crowbar on Monday night, continuing a string of solo shows.
G. Love performing at Crowbar on Monday night, continuing a string of solo shows.
Kaylee LoPresto
G. Love performing at Crowbar on Monday night, continuing a string of solo shows.
G. Love plays Crowbar in Ybor City, Florida on May 14, 2018.
Kaylee LoPresto
G. Love plays Crowbar in Ybor City, Florida on May 14, 2018.
G. Love had an array of goofy faces to make as he played  Crowbar in Ybor City, Florida on May 14, 2018.
Kaylee LoPresto
G. Love had an array of goofy faces to make as he played Crowbar in Ybor City, Florida on May 14, 2018.

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