The city will be awash in funk and gritty rock over the next few days, as groups from as far away as Chicago converge on the city’s venues to give us all a much-needed dose of tunes we can either dance or thrash around to.
KnuFunk, who brought the funk to the Peace Plaza stage at last week’s Thursdays on First, gets things off to a roaring start on Friday afternoon when they play the patio at the Rochester Civic Theatre. The show starts at 5:30 and runs until 9.
In case you’re unfamiliar with KnuFunk’s agenda, they play classics by groups like The Gap Band, Cameo, and Earth, Wind, and Fire, as well as a handful of original works. I’ve mentioned the potency of their horn section in earlier columns, and feel like this is one of the more fully-realized bands playing the city at the moment.
For examples of the group’s sound head over to their website. (Go online, to PB507.com, to find the weblinks.)
Later on in the evening, the VFW is hosting the Everett Smithson Band, a crew that plays a gumbo of Zydeco, blues, roots, and gospel to create a sound best categorized as “swamp rock.”
They’ve been at it for a long time now, but their new CD, “Time to Go,” released in September 2013, is a prime example of the group’s muddy sound.
“Mamou Grande,” a bluesy number on that release, available to stream on the group’s website, combines a charged guitar solo with simmering harmonica work and is topped off with Smithson’s growling voice, which sounds like a blend of Tom Waits and Howlin’ Wolf.
The band hits the stage at 8 p.m. and will play until midnight.
Friday night at Kathy’s Pub is where you’ll find the grittiest rock music in the city. Wake Up Bedhead, a psychedelic-rock outfit from Minneapolis, will join The Ultrasounds, a punk-around-the-edges rock band from Winona, and San Dimas, a Minneapolis band that plays a crunchy, adrenalized style of rock, for an evening sure to induce some spastic dance moves.
On Saturday night, Kathy’s keeps the weekend’s funky spirit supplied when they host The Steady Flow, a power-funk band from Chicago, starting at 8 p.m.
The Steady Flow plays progressive funk with strong ties to the classic sounds of the 1970s. The group is comprised of a guitarist, bassist, drummer, rotary organist, trumpeter, and two saxophonists. If you pay close attention to this column, you know about my affinity for saxophone presence; I’m pumped to hear what happens with two in the mix.
The group’s first EP, “The Oneoff Sessions,” debuted in 2013. Track “Bayside Wayside” is a smooth rumination on the nature of freedom, while, “O.G. Sharp” finds the group in tight lockstep, riffing through some classic-sounding funk structures with their horns and organ on full display.
The band recently won the “Dos Equis Toast of the Coast” competition, which garnered them a headliner slot at the North Coast Music Festival in 2013. For more information, head over to their website.
If you’re looking for a nice place to prepare your mind for the storm of funk headed your way, I’d suggest Sontes, where The Old Fashioneds, a Winona-based old-time jazz crew, will play starting at 7:30 p.m. I caught the tail end of the guitarist they hosted last week and kicked myself for not getting there sooner.
Sonties is a great place to sit and watch the ebbs, flows, and brewing conflicts of the nighttime scene downtown. That, and my lady swears by their lychee martinis.