Funktober First Round Up

Los Angeles’ autumn concert season opened on a high note this past Friday when Funktober First took over The Roxy. An intimate crowd of funk, soul and boogie enthusiasts gathered at 9009 Sunset Blvd. for what became a memorable, enjoyable and highly dance-able evening.

Things got started and were kept moving all night by KCRW’s Jeremy Sole, who was performing in the DJ booth upstairs just above the SUPERGOODMUSIC banner. Playing a smattering of old school soul, including some choice Sly & The Family Stone, he had the crowd vibing out before Tha Boogie even stepped on stage.
Shortly after 9, the only act I had not yet seen on the bill, Tha Boogie, made their presence known. The group, led by two male and one female vocalist, entered with choreographed movements and extremely loud clothing.

Playing for about thirty minutes, Tha Boogie made sure the crowd did just that. The energy of the band seemed to leach into the crowd, as the band drew nearly all of the VIP section onto the dance floor to enjoy the rising band’s set. Toe-tapping and butt-bumping with strangers before 10 pm signified that this night was just the music I was looking for.
Sadly, Tha Boogie did not play longer as I truly enjoyed their lively performance and exciting stage theatrics. Once Tha Boogie had wrapped up their set, Jeremy Sole resumed his duties as the nights mixmaster of ceremonies. I would love a copy of his playlist because he was spinning nothing but supergoodness as the not to sizeable crowd barely budged from the dance-floor.
Next up was The Soul of John Black – who confidently took to his guitar almost immediately. While the music was very enjoyable, TSJB lacked the driving rhythms and energy of his predecessor. The pleasant melodies emanating from the accomplished musician’s guitar kept the mood right, but the slowed pace led many patrons to the bar for re-hydration.

John Black ripped his urban bluesy rock soul for a good half hour before retiring backstage and letting the funk take over the room again. Sole kept the crowd’s ears saturated with funktober’s finest beats for at least a half hour while the stage crew repositioned instruments and prepared for the 9 piece extravaganza that is Orgone.
The band opened with a nice dirty funk jam that again got almost the entire crowd to join them on the dance floor. The crowd, which had grown considerably between the end of TSJB and Orgone, definitely were ready to get down….and so was the band.
Running through a handful of original tracks from Killion Floor, Bacando and their latest release, Cali Fever, Orgone and Fanny Franklin reminded the crowd why they are not only the best funk band to ever come out of Los Angeles, but also the perfect act to headline Funktober First.

Fanny (pictured above and below), got absolutely wicked on the microphone. Her voice has so much range and her soul is so deep that she occasionally reminds me of Sharon Jones – just a very petite one. She killed on “Who Knows Who,” amongst other originals, and as always, nailed vocals on some of my favorite covers – including “Ain’t No Use,” “Brothers on the Slide,” and their P-Funk closer “Cosmic Slop.
The rest of the band, including Stewart Killen (pictured below), backed up Fanny quite nicely. Holding down a very heavy rhythm for about 90 minutes, Stewart and crew kept the crowds feet moving almost as quickly as Sergio’s (guitarist) hands.

As the night wound down around 1 a.m., I couldn’t help but be pleased with the enthusiasm the acts brought and the seeming delight of the intimate crowd. Although the venue was not packed full, Funktober First was a good step in the right direction for not only all the bands that performed, but SUPERGOODMUSIC as well. Couldn’t be happier with the quality of sound(s) at our very first event at The Roxy.

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