Funk Fest 8 was a blast in the sleepy water front town of Punta Gorda, Florida yet everyone came to get down on March 3 and 4th including some of the best funk rock acts in the US! Father son duo, Matt and Nick Nemec, are the brains and brawn behind the this annual undertaking. They have managed to morph it from a small stage with some local acts to multiple stages with some of the nation’s top musical talent while still promoting the local music scene. The growing event has attracted all types of vendors and business owners alike to become part of the family and also contribute their own personal offering to add character to the weekend. The event supports local charities including United Way as well. There are 18 performances on two side-by-side stages, which means you don’t have to miss a single note!
3-11 p.m. March 3
The Black Honkeys
Greg Billings Band
1-11:30 p.m. March 4
Here Come the Mummies
Tim Reynolds & TR3
Das Funk Haus
Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad
Big Sam’s Funky Nation
Dumpstaphunk represents New Orleans funk — with Crescent City royalty in the form of Ivan and Ian Neville (keyboards and guitar, respectively). They and their bandmates — Tony Hall (bass and guitar), Nick Daniels (bass), and Alvin Ford, Jr. (drums) — play titanic shows so deep in funk and rock that you simply get lost in the music. They do play covers, but the real strength of the band lies in their original compositions. This is what real power sounds like.
Bringing the funk from Denver are The Motet, who regularly throw down massive sets of jazz, Afrobeat, funk and rock. Mostly, though their shows are just one big dance party, and they invite everybody to join them in the groove. Backed by one the nastiest rhythm sections ever in Dave Watts (drums) and Garrett Sayers (bass), The Motet will keep you on your feet start to finish. New vocalist Lyle Divinsky is great, and Joey Porter (keys), Ryan Jalbert (guitar), Gabe Mervine (trumpet), and Drew Sayers (sax) will blow your mind.
Here Come the Mummies might strike you as a put-on or a gimmick, but these guys flat-out will funk you to pieces. Once you’ve appreciated the brilliance of their wrappings, dig into the deep funk they play, often loaded with brilliant double-entendres. Who’s in the band? Mummy Cass(anova), Eddie Mummy, K.W. TuT, Spaz, The Flu, Ra, B.B.Queen, The Pole, Midnight, & Will Pharaoh. Now you know!
If you’re looking for a “rock funk power trio,” then you want TR3 featuring Tim Reynolds. Reynolds is a brilliant guitarist, once a partner with Dave Matthews in an acoustic duo setting. He is revered as a master. This will be a plugged-in, rock-out set from the North Carolina three.
Big Sam’s Funky Nation is the brainchild of Big Sam, former trombone player for Dirty Dozen Brass Band and hands down (feet down) the best dancer with a trombone ever. Their best description? NOLAdelic Powerfunk!
Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad deliver psychedelic roots from Rochester, but of course there is much more to their sound than that, with roots reggae and dub, sweet vocals and an infectious sound.
It has been more than a year since Voodoo Visionary (Atlanta) released their excellent first album, Spirit of the Groove. Since then, they have toured extensively, playing with Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, TAUK, The Main Squeeze and more, with festival appearances at 420 Sweetwater and many others. Their music is jammed full of Southern-style rock and funk.
Black Taxi is “one of NYC’s most prominent live acts, smashing an anything-goes punk ethos together with pop sensibilities and unparalleled energy.” Now you know this is going to be a blast!
From Clearwater come The Black Honkeys, a nine-member band who pack shows with their great takes on “Motown, funk, soul, rock & roll.” Try sitting still. As if…
The Greg Billings Band flat-out rock. And they’ve been rocking — for a long time. They play their 35th-anniversary show at the end of January! This is pure energy! AARP be damned!
Asheville’s prime funk export is a five-man juggernaut called The Fritz. They have toured relentlessly, playing festivals all over, headlining quite a few. Their infectious enthusiasm sweeps over the crowd in tsunamis. Fronted by singer Jamar Woods and his command center of keyboards, this band is a non-stop party.
If you want to hear the past and the future of New Orleans, look no further than Naughty Professor. This incredible young sextet play with one foot in the rich history of the Crescent City and the other on the forefront of funky jazz. They are, in every sense, the real deal.
Das Funk Haus is a Bradenton quintet playing eclectic psychedelic funk. With Juanjamon on sax and keyboards, that’s for certain!
Representing hometown, Cape Coral’s Soulixer is a trio whose mission is to deliver “a high-energy, cosmic concoction of funk and soul assembled with the full intention of greasing your ear whistle.” We have no reason to doubt them!
Walter Lukens is an Austin singer-songwriter who plays “indie rock, R&B, and AM pop.” He released Never Understood in October and is touring with his “favorite band of sweet and tender hooligans,” The Sidearms.
Stay Funky my Friends,