Material: Unique to the Los Angeles music scene, The Terpsichords deliver old-school, New Orleans style funk that would feel right at home on stage at Tipitina’s. Fronted by veteran producer/guitarist Doug Grean, the band is made up of accomplished session and touring musicians offering up—in typical New Orleans style—a mostly instrumental performance. The first set mixed covers and original tracks from their debut album, Burt Reynolds, while a jam-heavy second set, featuring guitarist Dave Malone of The Radiators, closed out the night.
Musicianship: For a relatively new band on the scene, The Terpsichords seem like they’ve always been here, with an organic, timeless sound. Having honed his skills alongside some of the most iconic musicians in New Orleans, guitarist Grean knows how to get the most out of the electric guitar. Band co-founder and drummer Keith Larsen, along with bassist John Spence, deliver anchoring beats that propel the music forward, while keyboardist Valerie Taylor adds some serious funk and stellar vocals to the offering.
Performance: The show boasted two sets of music: the first focused on a mix of covers and original cuts; the second featured a Dave Malone guest spot. The night also marked the birthday of the late Jerry Garcia, one of Grean’s early influencers, so the band briefly diverted from their usual fare to pay homage to the Grateful Dead with two deep cut covers, including “Crazy Fingers.” While appreciated by some of the fans, it was clear the band weren’t quite comfortable with the material and were happy to move on to their roots.
A funkified version of The Band’s “Cripple Creek” got the crowd moving, and groove- inspired originals kept the energy high before Malone hit the stage for a raucous closing jam session.
Summary: The Terpsichords are a breath of fresh air in a city where music, art and culture often feel disposable and “the next big thing” is dramatically overvalued. Their collective talent and experience lends to a mature, confident sound that is rare to find in the local L.A. scene. While the music is clearly what drives the performance, connectivity with the audience was missing at times, particularly in the first set. However, the group increased the energy later in the show and the audience responded in kind.
Players: Doug Grean, guitar, vocals; Keith Larsen, drums, vocals; John Spence, bass, vocals; Valerie Taylor, keys, vocals.
Venue: Cafe Fais Do Do
City: Los Angeles, CA