If ever they were timid, Five Alarm Funk seems to have long overcome their fear of bringing the audience right to the edge of their comfort zone and a little beyond. Last night's crowd at The Phillips Backyard Weekender in Victoria, BC were treated to tight funk grooves highlighted by the band member's synchronized dance moves, latin percussion and horn solos, and even death metal jeering. The apparently mostly white-guy funk band pulled off a 70's psychedelic soul train feel at times, ska-like vibes in others, and then they just got freaky, rasping out lyrical demands in a powerful Rage Against the Machine-like fashion.
The hip crowd of mostly 20 to 40 somethings bounced with whatever the band delivered, but how could they not with two wailing drummers who at times shared a mic (which incidentally led to a rather raunchy moment involving their tongues), a couple of percussionists (the one sporting a burner-like uniform of aviation goggles and cap was seriously working the crowd), a horn section that provided the necessary grooves to get hips swaying, not one but two guys weeping and wailing on guitars and a seriously funky bass guitarist. The crowd loved being driven into a frenzy by the drummer on the kit, even the elders bore the wrath of the cement dance floor, and were soothed by arabian night quality of the horn section. At times one might have sworn the group was singing to kindergarteners. It was all a bit of outrageous. Call it what you like. It was Rock n' roll. Long live Five Alarm Funk. Check them out at http://fivealarmfunk.com