Fans at Trouble Funk’s “Hump Day” Video Release Party celebrated the band’s 35 years of crank, plus the new music we’ve been waiting for from the go-go greats. On board the party train of brilliant performances at the 9:30 Club on Friday, January 17,2014 were the bold and beautiful Be’la Dona and newcomers, the Go-Go Symphony.
“How did they sound?” asked a lot of go-go enthusiasts this morning about the Go-Go Symphony. The verdict is in. They definitely cranked. Composer Liza Figueroa Kravinsky wore a proud look as she directed the troupe’s fun presentation of original music—as if she were answering in advance: Yes. We crank. They even have a lead talker whose go-go flavored voice adds to the feel of their songs. The orchestra captured the essential call-and-response element with Mayor of DC Hip Hop Head-Roc as a special guest, delivering his unmistakably go-go* flow as his 8-year-old daughter danced alongside him on stage. The Go-Go Symphony was certainly a great opener for such an important show in go-go history.
Be’la Dona is always an explosion of funky and refreshing sights and sounds, as each member renders her own remarkable performance. As if it’s even possible, they seem to look, sound, and present extraordinarily better and better with each big-stage performance. Their special guest, Sugar Bear, was an excellent supplement to their style, rocking the crowd with his own hits and making for major musical magic when Sweet Cherie stepped out from behind the keyboards to accompany him for “Umm Bop Bop”. The power of Be’la Dona perfectly set us up for the Trouble Funk finale.
Trouble Funk. Incredible. Holy. Sharp. They sounded sharp. They were dressed sharp, like the Ministers of Funk they proved themselves to be. It was not just an awesome performance, dat jo’nt was ji’ deep. And it goes even deeper than the sacred moments in which they brought former band mates on stage to play.
When Big Tony announced that they were taking it back to 1979, the father of an 8-year-old leaned down to tell her that he was her age at that time. Here was this little girl, out-grooving the adults at her very first go-go, feeling the funk the same way her father had when he first heard Trouble Funk. And there we were, captivated by Trouble’s funk, but not even on some nostalgia stuff. The music, the crank, was just THAT good, and we were in the Trouble Funk zone. That’s what you call TIMELESS.
Trouble Funk didn’t just Drop the Bomb last night; they brought the Mothership. The horns, dear Lord, the truth. Big Tony, Almighty, we give thanks for him. Trouble Funk was the future of the funk 35 years ago, and their performance at the “Hump Day” Video Release Party made sure we knew that they still are.
*footnote: *’Go-Go’ is also an adjective.