Sometimes your viewpoint gives you a whole new slant on a band. The Dunedin Brewery is an extremely intimate venue, especially for a group of the stature of Kung Fu. So it depends where you sit.
Pound for pound, I think this quintet can match up with anybody. Anywhere.Any time. This IS “uncut funk. THE BOMB.” “Tsar Bomba,” in fact.
But it is tough not to focus on KF’s front line: three very bad funksters in the very best sense of the word. Chris Palmieri is absolutely insane on guitar. Wait. Actually, all THREE of them are insane. That would include Rob Somerville, tenor sax and vocals, and Todd Stoops at the helm of his keyboard spaceship. These boys throw down as hard as anyone. So you might tend to overlook the back line.
That would be a mistake. It so happened that we were sitting (well, standing, mostly) with a great view of the rhythm section, and they are astounding. I speak of bassist Chris DeAngelis and Adrian Tramontana on the drums. Stoops might be at the controls, but these boys are in the in engine room, providing the power – at warp speed.
Somerville spotted my ancient Deep Banana Blackout shirt during soundcheck (of COURSE that’s why I wore it!) and came over to chat for a bit. I asked him about track 3 on “Tsar Bomba,” the new CD. It is a very Zappa-esque piece, my favorite on the disk. When I casually asked if “Rattlesnake” was on the setlist, he said, “We’ve only played that once or twice.” So what was the second song of the night (after “Do the Right Thing”)? An absolute romp through “Rattlesnake,” of course! Stunning!
This was two hours of joyous, jam-filled, funk-drenched face-melting. I’ve never been involved in any sort of kung fu competition, but I’ve got a pretty good idea what it feels like!
[And great, as always, to see the Dunedin Brewery packed on a Thursday night, including Displace, Future Vintage, and Holey Miss Moley representing!]