This Boogie is for Real

by Johnny Kolodziejczak

For years, people kept saying to me, “Go see Five Alarm Funk! You gotta see Five Alarm Funk! When the @#%& are you going to see Five Alarm Funk already?!?!”

Apparently, they were pretty damn good and, what’s more, a hell of a lotta fun. Yet, the seasons changed, a few hairs on my head greyed, and for some reason the said mission was still nowhere near complete.

All this changed February 13 when I finally got my ass down to Richard’s on Richard’s for the Five Alarm Funk / Miami Device Valentine’s double-feature. With the tickets sold out in all the stores (Zulu, Highlife, Scratch, etc), and a long line forming outside the club to pick up what tickets were left, the promise of this being a kick-ass show was indeed looking more and more likely.

90 freezing minutes later, my girl and I were inside watching the 12 members of Miami Device swarm the stage to kick things off. Their funk-infested afro-beats got people up and moving, and I personally couldn’t stop feeling like I was listening to the theme songs of every action movie and TV show unleashed in the 70’s. While the songs were definitely fun and tight, their low level of progressiveness and variety just couldn’t keep my ADHD-riddled brain in focus. As a result, they really did feel like they were the opening music for what turned out to be the action hit of the winter, Five Alarm Funk (Rated R).

Five Alarm Funk

Five Alarm Funk

As soon as these guys hit both the stage and their instruments, the crowd’s faces were beaming and their bodies were moving. I thought to myself: one of two things must just have happened: 1) everyone in the crowd just popped MDMA; or, 2) we were all rocked to the core. Personally – for me anyways – it had been #2.

The funkified, ever-transforming grooves shattered the air and infected our minds, bodies and souls. We surrendered to the music and allowed the phat basslines, interplay of percussions (two kit drummers and another on congas), blaring horn section, and chicka-chicka guitars to take us away. On stage, frontman/drummer Tayo Branston, shirtless and sweating profusely, was a funk locomotive without brakes while conga-player Tom Towers, in his Hefner-esque suede robe, entertained the crowd with dancing and hilarious facial expressions. The energy coming off the stage was echoed by the energy of the crowd, producing the type of itch that can only be scratched by dancing.

Come to think of it, I haven’t such a good time dancing at a club – or watching a local band, for that matter – in ages. There was no doubt that everyone here was, in the simplest of terms, “having fun.”

With my FAF cherry finally being popped, I’m already looking forward to the next big show. If you’ve seen FAF before, then you already know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, do yourself a favor and go. Then you’ll know too, just as Jamiroquai once sang and knew, “this boogie is for real…”

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1 comment so far

  1. Elma on

    Yup, they are definitely fun to watch. so alive and energetic. 🙂


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