The real thing

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It should be noted that G. Love — proprietor of the Special Sauce band, established basketball freak (check "Shooting Hoops" on his self-titled 1994 debut) and proud denizen of Philadelphia — put in his Pistons-Spurs prediction. "Gotta go with the Eastern Conference," he says, calling from Philly the day of Game 7. Unfortunately, it doesn't help. But it proves that G. Love is a man of the people and a true-blue believer. Love brings that same vibe to the stage each night, working an addictive patois of blues and hip hop with the help of his trusty guitar and longtime Special Sauce cohorts Jimmy Prescott (upright bass) and Jeff Clemens (drums).

Thousands of summertime porches have rung with the organic groove of the debut's "Cold Beverage" and "Baby's Got Sauce." But G. Love has been steadily proving it for more than 10 years now, collaborating with pal Jack Johnson on the breezy "Rodeo Clowns" (from 1999's Philadelphonic) and touring steadily with guys like Ben Harper and the Dave Matthews Band. Sure, there's a little of that jammy quality in Special Sauce — you know, the kind of music that draws in white guys with crappy dreads and the whirling women who love them. But G.'s unique, shambling flow is an effortless combo of wit, street-corner rhythm and old-softie romanticism, and his band always sounds amazing on a hot summer day. Just ask Coca-Cola.

The Pause that Refreshes commissioned G. Love to update its famous "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" spots for the new Coke Zero ad campaign. The Special Sauce version moves the action from a hilltop in Rome to a rooftop in Philly, and hopes to "teach the world to chill." At TasteFest, Detroiters'll get a head start. And that prediction will come true.

Johnny Loftus is a freelance writer. Send comments to [email protected]
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