Aug 25, 2010
Canadian Afrobeat: Five Alarm Funk - Everything Is Possible
Five Alarm funk is an afro-funk orchestra from Vancouver, BC. The group has four percussionists, 2 guitars, a bass, trumpet, trombone and 2 saxophones that create a terrific blend of funk sound intertwined with afro-beat rhythms. The group has toured all over Canada and played at the Molson Canadian Hockey House after Canada struck gold in hockey at the Vancouver 2010 olympics.
Anything is Possible will be their third studio album release. The band never ceases to be a dance party. In the album you can hear very world inspired rhythm and melodic lines mixed into Western jazz and funk styles. The result is something that appeals to older jazz fans as well as the younger generation. The 11 track album never ceases to amuse as each track is varied a bit in style and influences. The album starts off with Infernal Monologue which begins with a children’s choir and then moves on to some creepy sounding licks that almost sound like heavy rock. The next track is some straight funk which then moves onto an entire album of very fun and diverse tunes that you should totally check out.
Vancouver’s soul supergroup Five Alarm Funk didn’t let a grim and gloomy sky stop them from entertaining an enthusiastic crowd at Yaletown’s David Lam Park Sunday, July 4. During the free performance, which was the second stop on a 60-day summer tour -and managed to serve double duty as both closeout to the Vancouver International Jazz Festival and CD-release show for their 3rd album, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE, the spastic 11-piece proved themselves yet again to be one of the most infectious and energetic groups in the city. And the crowd, though initially slow to respond, was soon swept up in the frenzied fusion of afrobeat, disco, rock, and funk that has made the group so popular for the past six years. Soon, everyone in the audience was on their feet and moving; youth, parents, grandparents, children, the eight skilled hula-hoopers who took up residence stage right, and, of course, the peculiar older gentleman in the sweat-suit whose dance-moves seemed to resemble a bizarre sort of hyperspeed tai-chi. For their part, Five Alarm Funk did not disappoint, whether musically, or when it came to their usual style of caffeine-fuelled showmanship, including synchronized, off-the-cuff dance-moves (fist-pumps, leg-kicks, and club-style chest-bumps), Village-people-inspired costumes (The Jock, The Cowboy, The Construction Worker, and, of course, The Hipster) the comedy antics and mid-song costume-changes of percussionists Tom Towers, Justin Kennedy, and Carl Julig, and even -as a final, hurrah, a glitter cannon.
Most tracks featured hailed from ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE, though, for diehard fans, several older tracks were played, such as ‘Demons, Begone’, and the heavily-syncopated “United”. But, unquestionably, the highlight of the show was the surf-inspired “Dr. Child”, a guitar-heavy funk orgasm that featured, among other things, an epic, onstage battle between a gorilla and a shark. The stunt, which featured costumed performers enacting all manner of dancelike martial-arts moves on each other, was, according to drummer and spokesman Tayo Branston, more than just a simple stage antic; it was, in fact, the inspiration for the group’s entire 3rd album.
“If you believe that these two could meet under any circumstances,” he said, his voice growling like a preacher on steroids, “then truly, anything is possible, and that means that we can be here with you, and have a funky-ass good time any time we want.”
As the band closed out their nearly 90-minute set with a cheeky, horn-filled rendition of Europe’s classic “The Final Countdown” (to much applause, and including the aforementioned Glitter Cannon), and set the howling crowd to dancing all over again, it became clear that Five Alarm Funk is in no danger of slowing down, and remains capable of and committed to, in Branston’s words, “continuing our mission to bring you the best goddamn time you ever had.”
1. Infernal Monologue
2. Zenith Escalator
4. Demons Be Gone
5. Brother Egypt
7. Cave Of The Gypsy Troll
8. Soft Six
9. Doctor Child
13. Uncle Meatball
14. Face Riot
Labels: Five Alarm Funk