Lettuce

Lettuce

Is it just me, or does it seem like more and more bands are signing up for two-night stands at the Belly Up these days? Most acts who go that route seem to do the traditional back-to-back setup, but in December Lauryn Hill did two nights with a vacant night in between, a formula that deadmau5 will be following this week with shows on Tuesday, Feb. 26, and Thursday, Feb. 28.

Right before that, Aspen audiences will be treated to two evenings of Lettuce this Sunday and Monday, Feb. 24-25, following closely on the heels of two nights of Thievery Corporation last week. It’s almost like Aspen is a nice place to visit and bands want to stay awhile. I like to think they all going skiing while they’re here, but the ones not from Colorado probably don’t.

I imagine being able to play a venue as intimate as the Belly Up while still making good money for two nights’ work (deadmau5 tickets start at $125) also factors into the decision to do a double dip at the Belly Up. Then there’s the idea that some bands have so many fans in Aspen that they need two nights to make sure everyone has a chance to see them.

These were all questions I was going to ask Erick “Jesus” Coomes, Lettuce’s phenomenal bass player, but we were unable to connect on the phone. His people had set up a conferencing number for me to call, and when I dialed in, an automated voice told me I was the first caller, and I was put on hold.

Now, if you’re not familiar with Lettuce, you should know that they are among the funkiest bands in America and have been for over two decades. A group of musical prodigies who met at Boston’s renowned Berklee College of Music as teenagers, Lettuce throws down grooves that other bands could only dream of. It’s as if you took Billy Cobham, Phish and The Meters and made a high-energy salad of them.

So what incredibly funky song came on the conference line to entertain me while I waited for Jesus to give me a call?

“Never Gonna Give You Up” by … wait for it … Rick Astley!

I got Rick-rolled! I didn’t even know that was a thing anymore.

The minutes ticked by, and, mercifully, the song ended, replaced by insipid spa music that sounded amazing by comparison. That went on for a couple of minutes, with no call from Jesus, and then there was a moment of silence before the next song, which was:

“Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley!

That was all I could take. I had to end the call and never got to speak to Jesus. But I don’t want to put this on him. I had a tight window to fit the call in, and to his credit he emailed immediately to apologize and give me his cell phone number, but I really had to run.

Anyway, despite the missed connection, I’m actually even more excited to go to Monday night’s Lettuce show now. You have to appreciate a good double Rick-roll, inadvertent as it might have been. There’s nothing I like better than a funk band with sense of humor.

Todd Hartley is the special sections editor for Aspen Daily News. He can be reached at todd@aspendailynews.com.

Special Sections Editor