Successfully creating and jamming funk, soul, or hip hop music typically entails a wide array of instrumentalists. Horn sections, several guitarists, back-up vocalists, percussionists, and more ultimately tally up to large ensembles of undoubtedly talented entertainers, but that isn't always the case. When it comes to instrumentation, Syracuse all-around entertainers Sophistafunk have weaned that number down to three. Though the trio has never played a gig in southern California, on Tuesday, January 14, they will bring their own fusion of funk to Winstons in Ocean Beach.
What do you get when you cross a "nerdy white boy and a talented MC" with a downright dirty drummer? A dance party revival of cosmic future funk, all backed by sturdy breakbeats and intelligently upbeat wordplay. Adam Gold (keyboards, vocals), MC Jack, and Emmanuel Washington (percussion) compose the Syracuse trio out on the road in support of their 2013 album, Freedom Is.
"We're currently in Aurora, Colorado rolling along with a few ladies - gear in tow - en route to the west coast," said keyboardist Adam Gold. "Though this is our first time playing in southern California, we have been to central Cali in the past and it was very good to us."
Gold is referring to Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives host Guy Fieri, who featured the group in an episode focused on Gold's Syracuse restaurant and music venue, Funk 'n Waffles. Fieri was so impressed with the group that he hired them to play his birthday party in Santa Rosa, California in January of 2013.
"This exposure really put us in the spotlight," said Gold. "We appreciate him introducing us to a larger audience, especially in California."
Freedom Is, which was recorded at Moresound Studios in Syracuse, is quite the foray into a the past, yet extremely relevant in today's musical spectrum - shedding Top 40 trends for a more sophisticated and all-out soul dance party. With tracks like "Bruce Lee," and "Sex, Drugs, and Rock-n-roll," one could feel as though they were transported to the Parliament Funkadelic mothership at a mid-seventies Oakland show. The group has this amazing ability in creating such a full, bass-laden sound truly surprising the listener, who at first may believe them to be group of eight to ten musicians. "Gotta Walk" is a gritty yet lyrical thick track that is contrasted nicely with a slower, sweeter "Hard Enough." Ultimately, Sophistafunk knows how to stay in the pocket; when to pull back, when to plow forward, which is a tremendous talent in music.
"Tell all the folks in southern California to expect a 'big 'ole dance party'," said Gold. "We are doing with a three-piece what most full bands are doing. We also tour with bands of all varieties, and this has an outstanding effect on our live shows."
Gold also added that he wanted to bring this style of music out here because he feels the overall reception will be great. Ultimately, they just want everyone in the building to have a great time, and this will surely be the case at the Winstons show!
Sophistafunk will be playing at Winstons in Ocean Beach on Tuesday, January 14th. Tickets are $7 at the door (open @ 9:30pm).