Albany got a high dose of funk on October 3rd at Red Square thanks to the funk professionals in Kung Fu. The quintet packs a supergroup punch with talented musicians from various bands – Tim Palmieri (The Breakfast, guitar), Todd Stoops (RAQ, keyboards), Rob Somerville (Deep Banana Blackout, sax), David Livolsi (Jazz Is Dead, bass) and Adrian Tramontano (The Breakfast, drums). Needless to say, these guys have plenty of experience on how to start a killer party, even on a weekday night. Often booked for the late night slots on festival schedules, it was refreshing to watch Kung Fu perform at an earlier time (10pm), giving concertgoers a stirring chance to soak up the lethal levels of musical fusion.
With no opening act, the fans went wild as Kung Fu took the stage, eager to feel the funk. The sound came blaring out of the speakers and the groove hit via highlights including “God Made Me Funky”, with its simple chorus which the grateful crowd sang back to the band. Somerville blasted his horn with great enthusiasm that almost chipped the paint off the walls. It was a unique treat for the Red Square venue to have the Kung Fu lighting rigs that heightened the musical experience with the nonstop waves of bright neon. Guests were given the warning from the band, “Just because we stop playing, doesn’t mean we want to stop partying.” One of the best things about playing in the Upstate New York area for Kung Fu is the late night cut off time, usually much earlier in Connecticut.
The second set brought the crowd to the dark side of the funk, as the band displayed a captivating chemistry of Sly & the Family Stone meets The Funky Meters, turned upside down and mixed with harder electronic rock. Kung Fu created a heavier rock vibe mixed with a slow groove, resulting in a hair-raising boogie. Stoops surrendered to the keyboards as he played with his eyes closed, feeling the music that he was feeding to the crowd. Livolsi hit deep notes on his bass in a steady rhythm of sinister delight.
Kung Fu has a jammed packed fall tour with stops at the New York Harvest Fest in Monticello, a Post Phish show at The Palladium in Worcester, MA, a Halloween show at The Gramercy Theater in NYC and the Bear Creek Festival in Live Oak, Florida.