February 12, 2013

Concert review: Big Sam’s Funky Nation and the Funky Butt Brass Band join forces at the Old Rock House, Friday, February 8

Big Sam’s Funky Nation is one of our favorite New Orleans bands, and we’ve been lucky enough to share the stage with them on four different occasions. It’s always a treat, because Big Sam Williams is a force of nature and a lot of fun to watch. Our bands complement each other well, it’s always a big funk throwdown and it usually ends with the Funky Butt horns joining the nation onstage and lifting the night even higher than previously imagined. We had occasion to open for BSFN again, this time at the Mystic Knights of the Purple Haze Ball on Friday, February 8th, and fortunately for us, Jason Warren from KDHX was there to document the proceedings:

Written by Jason Warren

On Friday night, St. Louis got primed for Mardi Gras, courtesy of a throw-down from New Orleans’ Big Sam’s Funky Nation and St. Louis’ Funky Butt Brass Band.

Turning the Old Rock House into a purple, gold and green celebration, both bands brought the funk and turned it up for the dance floor. More importantly the night served as the annual ball for the Mystic Knights of the Purple Haze, who happened to be celebrating 25 years as St. Louis’ premier Mardi Gras krewe. It was a night that made everyone from housewives, businessmen, thirty-nothings, hippies and punks move with the joy of music and celebration that can only come from New Orleans.

The tone of the night was set by the Funky Butt Brass Band. The group brought its own style of funk fused with second-line brass band and turned the Old Rock House into a rent party. The veterans grooved with their take of the New Orleans sound but really hit their stride when they channeled James Brown and his Famous Flames. It was in those moments that the band truly shined.

As Big Sam’s Funky Nation took the stage the party took off. As the band kicked into the first song, it felt like a fighter jet had taken off inside the walls of the Old Rock House. Those that were expecting a classics like “Hey Pocky A-Way” or “Jock-O-Mo” might have been disappointed; if so, the disappointment only lasted a few seconds. The band kicked in and they were there not only to make your booty shake but to give you a show.

Big Sam’s Funky Nation is led by former Dirty Dozen Brass Band trombonist Sammie “Big Sam” Williams. The name Big Sam is appropriate, not only for the the actual size of the man but for the sound that he and his band produce, a sound that has the power and fury of great metal and punk but consists of deep funk. Producing a groove that had everyone in a frenzy. Even if you were sitting in the back of the club there was no way that this sound could keep you from sitting still. The band was in town to party and take the crowd on a funk and rock journey, one that echoed the grooves and sounds that could only be conjured up if you were to make a hybrid of Fishbone, the P-Funk, Maceo Parker and the Ohio Players.

Topping off the evening was Funky Butt’s Aaron Chandler and Adam Hucke jumping on stage to trade licks with the Funky Nation, combining the powers of the Funky Butt Brass Band’s house-party vibe with the landing of Big Sam’s mothership. This was an ideal combination of both New Orleans heavy funk and St. Louis come to party attitude that made a perfect fit to end the night.

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February 4, 2013

All Because It’s Carnival Time…

As Al Johnson’s classic tune reminds us, Mardi Gras season is here once again. It’s one of our favorite times of the year, as you might expect from a band whose DNA is in the New Orleans brass band tradition. Although New Orleans and St. Louis have much in common, their Mardi Gras celebrations are very different. In NOLA, the parades begin on January 19 and continue through Fat Tuesday, February 12 — there are 63 parades this year alone. Here in St. Louis, you get a dog parade and a single, solitary Grand Parade down Broadway. As a result, St. Louisans are forced to cram all their revelry into a couple of long weekend afternoons. With that in mind, the Funky Butt Brass Band reminds you to be careful out there, pace yourselves, don’t overdo it, and try not to get any tattoos you might regret on Ash Wednesday. And if you’re still standing at 5 pm on Parade Day, February 9th, we hope you’ll come see us at the Old Rock House. We’ll also be hitting the stage at 8 pm at the Broadway Oyster Bar on Fat Tuesday, your last chance for utter debauchery before you clean up your act for Lent. In both cases, we will be joined by our friends Gumbohead, so you’ll get the REAL Mardi Gras experience, from brass band funk to traditional jazz to Professor Longhair boogie to Creole zydeco. As opposed to a couple of DJs rocking the Bud Light Party Tent amidst the chaos and detritus of Soulard. Laissez les bon temps rouler, indeed!

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January 4, 2013

Let’s do the second line!

If you need an authentic New Orleans-style second line parade, look no further! Check out our second line video to see what kind of parade we can bring to your party, wedding or other special event!

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