Sep 2, 2009

Five Alarm Funk - Same


Five Alarm Funk is a Vancouver-based, 12-piece rhythm machine that delivers a delirium-inducing live show fuelled by original funk and afro-beat grooves. The band’s horn and percussion-driven instrumental jams feature searing guitar leads and horn solos wailing and soaring above a four-man percussion maelstrom that is grounded by Neil Towers’ juicy bass lines.

The band’s wicked cross-rhythms and frenetic, costumed stage show appeals to jazz fans and clubs kids alike. Five Alarm Funk has carved out a word of mouth fan base from a series of crowd-pleasing performances at clubs, concert halls, and festivals throughout Western Canada. Highlights include the band headlining the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver and opening for the Herbalizer at the Plaza of Nations. The group’s debut album has charted on college radio across the country including reaching #2 on Toronto’s CIUT station. Warner Music Canada nationally distributes the CD and it is available in record stores across the country.

“Interaction between the crowd and the band is a huge part of the show, and we try to make every show an event. We’ve managed to get big crowds to our shows by word of mouth, friends telling friends about the band,” enthused guitarist and group spokesman Gabe Boothroyd. “There’s nothing like seeing 800 people at a sold-out show at Richard’s on Richards crouch down on the floor when our vocalist and drummer Tayo Branston tells them to ‘get low’ during a funky build-up.”

The band’s playful, high-energy live show is fueled by skin-tight arrangements and raw, sweat-drenched passion. From its founding as a six-piece in 2003, the young band (average age is 23) has grown into one of the most exciting and unique groups in Canada.

“There’s a huge afro-beat, Fela Kuti influence,” explained Boothroyd. “We take that and combine it with some James Brown and Kool and the Gang and then throw in a lot of youthful energy and reckless enthusiasm. Most people in the band started playing rock-oriented music, and that edge is still there in a lot of our playing and our stage presence.”

Five Alarm Funk’s’ wacky costumes and stage antics guarantee a frenzied dance party, but the boys in the band can really play too. Five Alarm Funk can pack a dance floor, but they’ve got tons of jazz chops too. They’ve got it all. They’re the real deal. Check ‘em out!


Big bands are back … not the Tommy Dorsey–style swing orchestras of the 30s and 40s but the horn-driven Afrobeat and funk of Fela Kuti and James Brown. Five Alarm Funk is an Afro- Funk powerhouse from Vancouver who have revitalized the deep grooves and kitschy costumes of the 70’s. After igniting Vancouver stages with their own Afro-Caribbean beats, Five Alarm Funk are ready to make their recording debut. The late, great father of Afrobeat, Fela Kuti once said, “I refuse to live my life in fear.” Scores of admiring musicians during the 60s and 70s watched him fearlessly stand up to an oppressive regime in Nigeria as he was defining some of the most danceable grooves in history with his huge Afrobeat orchestras. Now, this twelve piece Vancouver rhythm machine is paying forward Afrobeat’s magnetic energy. Guitarist, Gabe Boothroyd explains, “There’s a huge Fela Kuti influence in Five Alarm Funk. We take that and combine it with some James Brown and Kool and the Gang and throw in a lot of youthful energy and reckless enthusiasm.” Antibalas also loomed large in this band’s developing sound but not everybody has to have a political beef to fry and that’s where Five Alarm Funk part company with their inspirations. The Afrobeat is ever-present but the lyrics are all about getting the party started and that’s just fine. These upstarts have plenty of time to find a cause.



01. Don Mega
02. Hot Funk Sunday
03. King Arthur's Court
04. Big City
05. Gabe's Revenge
06. Ain't No One Man
07. March of the Latin Zombies

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