Community defined at Keepin’ D Funky Benefit | The Amsterdam 08.29.15

If you look in the dictionary… wait, that’s too old-school. If you look on Wikipedia for the definition of the word ‘community,’ I’m pretty certain you will find this photograph taken at 6:30 at the Keepin’ D Funky benefit show at the Amsterdam in St. Petersburg on August 29th, either the one taken by Matt Hillman or the one by Arielle D’Ornellas. NOT the one of me ‘appearing’ to snooze; this one:


This Florida music community, and especially the one in central Florida, coast to coast, is absolutely amazing, demonstrated time and again, most recently at the Orange Blossom Jamboree and at the Great Outdoors Festival. This benefit show at The ‘Dam was simply a logical extension of that family for a cause near and dear to the hearts of everyone in the community: the recent medical battles fought by the godfather of the Tampa Bay music scene, Darryl Quesenberry, better known as The Rev. Funky D, a.k.a. Animal, musician, sound engineer, band leader, studio manager, friend, confidant and supporter.


Miss Robyn Alleman

Several other benefits for him have been successful, but this all-out effort was simply magnificent, from the musicians who played and the willingness of hosts Zoie Torres and John Cullen of The ‘Dam to accommodate our family to the many volunteers and people who donated valuable items for auction. Of special note are Robyn Alleman, Kat Lynes, and Janice Lautner, whose tireless work made this event so successful.cope

I knew the show started early with retro CopE, but I was trying to get a review posted, forgetting the Factor of Three Rule (however long I think it will take to finish and post an article, it will take three times that long). So I walked in as they were on their last number. It was a great tribute that the band, on hiatus (only, I hope), got together to support D. In fact, Dennis Stadelman posted wonderful remarks about D, explaining why he was donating the original painting Bean Spence did for the cover of CopE’s album See.


Savii Hilton & Sean Hartley

Kenny Stadelman commented afterward that they had no practices since the Great Outdoors jam and wanted to “see what we could do.” The day’s MC, PK, said it best: “BEST COPE SHOW EVER!” That was a common sentiment.



Music alternated between the indoor set and the outdoor stage (with several nice tents). Outside, Sean Hartley and x played a lovely acoustic set that included a nice surprise with “Coconuts” (Panic fans nodding in approval). Then it was back inside for a nice set of reggae and more from NoNeed.

endless flow

Endless Flow

Meanwhile, Mother Nature was temporarily not cooperating, weather-wise. It looked like Endless Flow’s set would be lost, but all the principals coordinated to get them a short set inside. This is a superb, uplifting band deserving much wider recognition. Then it was a quick shift to Broke Mr. Jones, yet another band I knew nothing about before this show. This trio delivered a very nice bluesy set. The vocalist had an intriguing alto voice that was very effective. Later, Russ Bowers (yes, that Russ Bowers) sat in on guitar.


Broke Mr. Jones

row jomah

Row Jomah

I had seen a portion of Row Jomah’s set the night before at Beer and Brownies (admit it: that’s the best concept ever), and their Keepin’ D Funky set was equally good. Every member of this band is strong, and the combination of the five musicians is truly impressive. Of note were “Fire and Ice” from new album Cat People and “Cat People!” (which is NOT on the album!?!).

Justino and the Difference have been throwing down superb sets every time they step on stage, and this night they made lots of new fans. The set began with their take on Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s cover of “Hoedown.” The vocal tune next worked its way into “Linus and Lucy,” which always brings smiles. Jonathan Richardson’s keyboards were integral to the entire set.


Justino and the Difference

Then Justino unleashed drummer Jonathan Thomas on Stevie’s “Contusion,” just so deluxe. Later, Justino’s tune “Pop Song” careened through its various changes. “Black Hole Sun” was a fun cover, and the set closed as Juan Santana (bass) went wild on another Justino Lee Walker original, “Signals.” They made many new fans this night.

Holey Miss Moley has skyrocketed ever since their Orange Blossom Jamboree set, followed by The Great Outdoors Jam and Reunion: Campout Concert Series. This was another magnificent outing, with great versions of “Devil Funk,” “Use Me” (Jacob Cox huge on guitar), and “Shake It with Me” (Kenny ‘Bonesaw’ Harvey!) Yral ‘datdudeondrums’ Morris (Come Back Alice) was again sitting in on drums while Tony Morales’ wrist continues to heal; Morales and Vernon Suber added beautiful percussive colors all set long.

Since the Ajeva boys were hanging out before the final set, it was time to invite Travis Young up to rap “Nothin’ But a G Thang” after Danny Clemmons and Robyn Alleman conspired on “I Wanna Do Something Freaky to you.” The set closed, most appropriately, with “We Are Family,” the family joined by y from Green Sunshine on vocals. Yes, we are!


The Bath Salt Zombies

Harum Scarum was a band unfamiliar to many, but The Bath Salt Zombies vouched for them (would you take that recommendation?): Sleazy, raucous, musical secretion bred from the dark glamour of Daytona Beach. Turns out that was an accurate assessment, as they made lots of new fans. And then it was time for the BSZ show outside. They played their usual deluxe set of macabre and “unusual” songs with a twist, in glorious day-glow, of course!

Speaking of the Zombies, great thanks to Graham Woodard, Jesse James and the boys for their dedication to sound, and kudos to Joe Roma and the others who made it sound great all day long.

bsz sound

Finally, it was time to go back inside for one wild set with Ajeva. This quintet is housed in the same complex as Funky D’s studio, and they have an extremely tight relationship, so it was only fitting that Ajeva shut it down. And did they ever!

Reed Skahill, Skyler Golden, Mark Mayea, Taylor Gilchrist, Dean Arscott and Travis Young played a wonderful set, with D on keyboards at some point. Skahill’s voice was perfect for the setting and the vibe, and Young and Gilchrist were tight as ever in the rhythm section.


Bless you, Funky D!

Photographs by kind permission of Matt Hillman /


The irrepressible Bailsteins!


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