Jammin' Band

Davemann_2Orlando's own funkUs has been a part of the central Florida jam band scene for a number of years, bringing their own groovy blues-based flavors to the rainbow table.  Guitarist Dave Mann and guitarist Ron Betts have honed their skills and chops through many nights of playing covers in the bar circuit, in fact, Ron does solo shows downtown that literally go on for hours with just him and a guitar.  Former House Shaker bassist "Mojo" Jones and drummer Adam Freeman form the rhythm pocket, which is heavy on the funk and groove-rock.  A funkUs show is a fun and sweaty experience where the band won't stop if you won't.  Their latest release, Free, features a number of original staples of their live show, tunes that stretch due to sheer will of the crowd, like "Everybody's Right (Free)" and the frantic ska pace of "Sleep." 

The band knows how to trip gaily down psychedlic sidewalks as well, even featuring Grateful Dead keyboardist Tom Constanten on the laid-back catchy sing-along "Smiley Garcia."   

It's been hard lately to catch the band, since they focus on writing and recording more than gigging, usually appearing at an ongoing series of shows that they sponsor at Hard Rock Live called "Jambando."  Supportive of local music, talented musicians, happy, peaceable people.  It's always a good vibe at a funkUs show.

Supportive of the local scene

funkUs - Sleep

Cross-Town Concerts

Hrl1Part One: To Universal, With Love

The Orange Blossom Blues Society sponsored an evening of blues at Hard Rock Live-Universal Citywalk, which is kinda ironic considering that the actual House of Blues at Downtown Disney has pretty much relegated the blues to the restaurant.  Sent to the kitchen, indeed.

The crowd was respectful for a local event featuring Roadblock, Three Fork's Road, Brutha Neil And the Real Deal, and Joe "Survival" Caruso and Hot Band.   I missed Roadblock, and couldn't stay for Three Fork's Road, but did talk with Dave "Tin Man" Tinny, who plays drums and was a former member of Vonray.

He laid a CD on me to play on the AFI Radio podcast so that'll have to do for now, right?  Caruso was up second, and is formerly of New Orleans.  His guitar stylings were therefore stinging-wicked and fiery - what an ax-slinger.  Even if he did remind me a little of Boss Hogg from "The Dukes of Hazzard."  Neil and the Deal were good, if not somewhat challenged by the act that they had to follow, they brought it in their own right as the slightly quicker charging of time led me out of those doors and streaking down I-4 towards downtown in time to catch Berman.

Berman1_1
Part Two:  Rock Shows Rock

The first three bands, Ariya,One Perfect Minute and Lucid Fly had all played already; Berman was setting up as I walked in, so that vibe that you have to employ in order to dash from club to club to catch certain bands was working shake-time mojo on me.  When the band finally hit the stage after a minor delay during sound system adjustments (at least there were no ear-piercing shards of feedback like you get at some shows), they went right to it and demonstrated why they are known as a band to see live.  Killer stage energy, tasty musicianship, well-written and performed songs that walk a razor sharp line between hard edged rock and modern pop.  They aren't afraid to use hooks and their signature alternating layers of sound would've been over-the-top hypnotic if the whole mix didn't sound sort of like aural oatmeal; despite a much-touted new sound system at the Backbooth - alas, it was a tough go Friday night.

I shot some video with the guys from Berman and Doug and Nikki from Lucid Fly but I'm not sure what we'll do with them yet.  There have been rumblings around the office about something involving video here at OCB, but I ain't sayin' until they're sayin', know what I'm sayin'?  Na-MEAN?

A Very Good Friday

Cdrelease06_1Berman's new album is called Send Me To The End and it hits the streets April 14th at The Backbooth.  To be honest, I haven't seen or heard Ariya or One Perfect Minute, so it could go either way for you.  Lucid Fly, however, now they will blow your doors off.  And they're right nice people too.

Should be a fun night.  Once again, I'm trying to do too much, but am also going to check out the blues show at Hard Rock Live with Roadblock, Three Fork's Road, Brutha Neil And the Real Deal, and Joe "Survival" Caruso and Hot Band. 

Berman - Why Am I


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