Now playing 9-23-04
Funk, funk, funk. It's a fun word, but what does it mean? To some it's a musty odor, to others it's a depressed state of mind, and to music fans it's something entirely different.
No one says it better than Webster's New World College Dictionary (second entry, third definition): "a form of rhythm and blues popular since the 1970s in which highly syncopated polyrhythms are combined with a prominent, jerky bass line, minimal harmonic structure, and declamatory vocalizing." (I had to look up "declamatory," which is defined as "marked by passion or pomposity; bombastic.")
With a recent album titled The Interplanetary Super-Heroes of Funk, the Urban Funk Ordinance, a group from Chicago headlining a show at Viele's Planet on Saturday, fits right in with the definition of funk. Founders Eric Yoder and Steve "Vinnie" Schnall, both mainstays of the music industry in Chicago, are fond of the funk. They are funkifying the world through funktastic forms of funktabulous funkification. That's the other good use of the word funk: inventing descriptions by replacing part of a word with "funk." That, and pretending to mean another word, one that's just a letter away from another one that you aren't allowed to say over the airwaves on in a respectable newspaper.
Just to prove the point, on the aforementioned album is a song called "Funkmeister," and on the soon to be released The Exception to the Rule there happens to be a number called "Funk You." So funk is meant to be overblown, to be great dance music, and to be lyrically fun and suggestively boasting. If that's the way you like it (I hope so, because that's the way it is), feel free to let loose the funk with UFO on Saturday. The band members have pedigrees as big as the Parliament Mothership, touching such artists as Aretha Franklin, the Temptations, Smashing Pumpkins, and R. Kelly. And did I mention that they're quite proud of their smoke machine, which functions (aha, a natural one) as a mood creator for the furthering of the funk feel?
Opening the show, which is brought to you through the good graces of Ocean Alexander, are Eric Welch and the Disputes. E.W. and crew have been honing their music every Monday as hosts of the Monday Open Mic at Floyd's Thirst Parlor.