As Pnuma Trio cranked on a wholly satisfying set at Sticky Fingerz on Saturday, I wondered whether the crowd would have been larger had a) Béla Fleck not been playing a block away, at the Rev Room; and 2) Arkansas not just lost a redickerous football game at Alabama a half-hour earlier, leaving potential ass-shakers to polish off the party Bacardi in their darkened living rooms. Whatever the reason, all the floorspace was a tragedy, because Pnuma brought the noise. The Memphis-based trio (Lane Shaw on trap set, Ben Hazlegrove on keyboards, and Alex Botwin on electric bass and the requisite upright laptop) presented old-school meeting outer space – think Jamiroquai without the vocals – veering at times between trip-hop and down-tempo, and other times, to futuristic foreplay funk. The only conversation they made with the scattered but appreciative revelers came when the drummer’s pedal broke. While it was being replaced, they spun “Misery Loves Company,” from their album “Character,” due out on Columbia Records in two weeks. To support that record, they’ll tour seven dates in Japan, a land far from college football and virtuoso banjoists. Their proximity and prolific tour schedule makes another Little Rock stop inevitable. Next time get out the funk.

Sam Eifling

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