FUNK ALERT! Alarm set to attack Edmonton with skanktastic beats, riotous horns, disruptive attire
Almost exactly one year ago, Canada was tied with the U.S. in overtime of the gold medal hockey game at the Vancouver Winter Olympics.
The air was tense across the nation, and not far from GM Place where the game was being played, one band waited for what might be the best or worst gig of its career. The members of Five Alarm Funk wouldn’t know until show time. Canada wins, it’s party time. A loss and it’s a gig from hell.
“That was nuts. Basically, the whole show depended upon Canada winning the game,” says Tayo Branston, Five Alarm Funk’s drummer and lead singer. “If Canada loses, there’s going to be nobody here or we’re going to get booed off the stage or beers are going to be thrown at us.”
It turned out OK. As we all know, Sidney Crosby netted the winner for Canada, and the Molson Hockey House erupted with Canada’s wackiest 10-piece funk band. Good times. Expect the same when Five Alarm Funk hits the Haven Social Club tomorrow (Tuesday, March 1) with openers Type Monkey Type and Scantily Clad and the Well-Dressed Men.
Five Alarm Funk has earned a reputation as one of the country’s hottest live acts, bringing wild outfits, headbanging and choreographed dances from town to town, to supplement its horn-powered attack. Using not one, not two, but four percussionists, the band fuses funk with rock, reggae, Afro-beat and Latin dance grooves. Five Alarm Funk has brought its chaotic performances the Vancouver and Toronto jazz festivals, the Shambhala Music Festival, and numerous sold-out shows at the Commodore Ballroom in its hometown Vancouver.
“We dance, we jump around; basically, it’s just 10 guys having the time of their lives playing the music they love on stage,” Branston says.
Since the Olympics, the band has continued to write and record, releasing the full-length Anything is Possible last summer. The album opens with a children’s choir on the track Infernal Monologue and descends into an energetic, genre-mashing, 14-song voyage. Branston says his influences come from far and wide; notably Frank Zappa, and Latin music his mom listened to growing up.
“Really, everything, I love it,” he says. “Rock, rap, reggae, Latin, heavy metal, funk, I love it. We’re just 10 dudes that have evolved into this beast. It’s really hard in most cases to keep a large band together, but for us it seems to work out just great. So I mean, if that can happen, then really, anything can, right?”
Tickets to Five Alarm Funk are $10 in advance. Buy here.
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by Damon Sparks