Five Alarm Funk w/ The New Groovement @ Sugar Nightclub (Victoria, BC) 1/30/2015

It was a double shot of funk-infested groove at Sugar Nightclub on a foggy Friday evening. If you were hoping for a slow number to snuggle up to your sweetie then you were shit outta luck, ‘cos it wasn’t happening this night. The New Groovement warmed things up nicely with their blend of Chicago blues, funk, R&B and hip-hop. With ten people out there, the stage was a little crowded — so much so that the drums, bass and guitar were hidden in behind the four horn players. Danimal House did his share of rapping, but the centre of show was singer Theresa Pasaluko, who was equally adept at crooning the blues as she was belting out a rock tune.

Compared to the uniformly attired New Groovement (they all wore black with red ties) Five Alarm Funk were more a ragtag bunch – in fact, the percussion section barely bothered to dress, opting to come out in just pants or shorts (wise choice as it was getting sweaty and sticky by that time). And when the band launched into their madcap noise you might well have thought this was going to be a shambolic affair.  Far from it – there is a total method to their madness. No matter how riotous things got, they were always in complete control musically, with not one missed beat or note. Tight as a drum.

Speaking of drums, have you ever seen a band put all three of its percussionists out front on stage? If there was ever a drum-centric band then FAF is it (although the fact that those three guys also happen to be the vocalists may have something to do with it). But drums are just the start, as they also sport a mean horn section (sax, trombone, trumpet) and a lead guitar/bass/rhythm guitar unit that lends a heavy, rock edge to the proceedings. Highlighted by energetic drumming and goofy antics, FAF’s frenetic funk was peppered with Caribbean music, Mexican brass, progressive rock and even a hint of heavy metal. They played some brand new tunes, as well as digging back in their catalog, but selections from their 2014 album Abandon Earth was their bread-and-butter, with “We All Scream” drawing the most applause.