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Thursday, May 5, 2005 01:29 pm

now playing 5-5-05


Take nine guys, mix in a strong desire to play funk and fusion music, and you’ve got a Public Display of Funk. The Bloomington-based group has been together for five years with only a few personnel changes.

Drummer Darin Holthaus credits the strong bonds among the group’s members for PDF’s longevity. “About half the band has been friends since high school; the rest met in college. We just clicked,” he says. Of course, that wasn’t so very long ago. “We’re all over 21 now,” he says. (At this point during our phone interview, Holthaus calls out: “Hey, Eric, how old are you?” “Twenty-four” somebody shouts. “Yeah, he’s the oldest guy in the band,” Holthaus says.)

The PDF players may be young, but they’ve managed to perform all over the Midwest and spent this past weekend doing a quick tour of St. Louis and Kansas City. They just finished their third CD and plan to release it to the public on Friday, May 6, at the New Lafayette Club in Bloomington. PDF’s recorded catalog is available on Internet music-sale Web sites such as CD Baby, but the group has had no big bites from record labels or distribution deals as yet.

“We heard a rumor that Alicia Keys’ producer was interested in us,” Holthaus says, “but you hear all kinds of things.”

The group’s latest CD was recorded at Eclipse Studios in Normal by Erik Nelson and produced by the band. It features the pristine vocals of Ian Wick, holder of a high, clear, melodic voice. The 4XL horn section is a treat to hear, its intricate lines framing the in-the-pocket rhythms of the electric basic band, and the turntable work adds a modern touch of hip-hop to the classic setup of horns, guitars, and drums.

PDF music is dance-beat stuff, as all good funk is, but the incredible musicianship and undeniable dedication of the college-trained players raises the level to much more than that of the average bar band. What with the hard work the guys are putting into the project, this funk just might get displayed a great deal in public.

Public Display of Funk performs from 10 p.m.-1 a.m. Saturday, May 7, at Marly’s Pub, 9 W. Old State Capitol Plaza; 217-522-2280.

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