Ain’t It Funky Now: Equifunk 2011 Band Breakdown

Band Name: The New Deal

Why they’re funky: Moving a crowd to dance with one another is an admirable feat in itself. Inciting 1,000+ people to jump up and down in unison is downright funky. The New Deal is one of those road rarities that toured their way into the hearts of the music lovers and party junkies of North America. A live trio that has the sonic force of a carefully mixed DJ set was a novel idea in 1999, but it caught on quickly and The New Deal was one of the scene’s pioneers. The band is breaking up in the fall after their final tour.

What to expect:
Absolute, sweat drenched, mayhem. Crescendos so long, you’ll pull your hair our before it peaks. Smiles so big, they’ll give out stuffed animals to children who throw baseballs at your teeth.


Band Name: Walter, Roberts & Deitch

Why they’re funky: Jazz is historically the root of all funk. You don’t believe me? Take another listen to Bitches Brew. The supergroup combination of Greyboy All-Star Robert Walter, The New Mastersounds’ Eddie Roberts and Lettuce drummer Adam Deitch will essentially take modern jazz, add some bounce, and then shred all over that.

What to expect: Head bobbing, guitar solos, possible suits.

Band Name: Leroy Justice

Why they’re funky: Like guitar pedals – not all funk is created equal. For instance, the Wah-Wah peddle is the standard definition of good, clean funk; but a Fuzz Wah-Wah pedal spits the grizzle bump funk. Leroy Justice is the latter. These gritty gents have a sprawling southern sound that will make you shake your ass with some attitude.

What to expect: Drive By Truckers (pace) + North Mississippi Allstars (chops), whiskey & dip spit.


Band Name: Dogtown Allstars

Why they’re funky: These guys have held down the classic funk/jazz scene in St. Louis for the better part of a decade now. A vintage instrumentation, including a Hammond B3, give their tunes as authentic of a soul feel as can exist in 2011. They communicate well, keep it tight, and put out jams that don’t last a note too short or too long.

What to expect: The perfect soundtrack to a Friday evening sunset as you’re settling into a weekend of hanging out. Grab a beer and start moving those limbs around. But stretch first for godsake…


Band Name: Kung Fu

Why they’re funky: Listening to these guys is somewhat similar to playing video games on a LOT of speed – it sounds like they’re from another planet altogether and it’s kind of exciting. Take a dash of prog rock and add it to some ’70s big band (a la Tower of Power or Grand Funk Railroad), drop a hit of jazz fusion and you’ll get Kung Fu.

What to expect:
Bugging eyeballs.


Band Name: Turkuaz

Why they’re funky: Turkuaz is the only band of the weekend to feature female backup singers dancing in unison, a funk staple that’s growing rarer by the day. These guys are young, talented showmen with tunes that don’t let up from the moment they start. A strong brass section and a bad-ass bass player give this group footing, but it’s the female touch that gives them wings.

What to expect: An epic pool party. For a full work out, try dancing in the deep end while treading water. Watch out for people barreling down the waterslide though. Good god y’all, this is going to be fun.


Band Name: Frank Stalloners

Why they’re funky: Evenly distributed awesomeness. These guys sound like the house band at your favorite dive bar. With a New York attitude, some audible grime and a dirty bass player, the Stalloners (as they so eloquently put it) “do it to you in your ear-hole”.

What to expect:
Songs about breaking the law accompanied by bar room piano’s, funky bass lines, country guitar licks and flying beer bottles.


OK, Seriously…


Band Name: Wolf!

Why they’re funky: Rumor has it that at Equifunk Express this past Memorial Day, the band Wolf! set a wild animal loose in the crowd and it ended up just dancing all afternoon (things got ugly when the music stopped, though). The infectious funk these guys produce is pretty similar to a perpetual motion machine – it organically keeps gaining steam but never breaks a tipping point of “too much.”

What to expect:
Steady grooves and a possible missing arm.


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