The New Mastersounds at the Other Side, 11/17/12 (review)By Jason Blevins | November 18th, 2012 | 1 Comment »
The foursome from Englandâs Leeds is the syncopated squad fighting on funkâs revivalist frontline, weaving the Metersâ pioneering groove with the flinty, soulful rhythms of Ivan âBoogaloo Joeâ Jones and James Brownâs orneriest tempos. The result is a funkified stew of old and new. Tight and melodic, hard-bop tinged, Beastie Boy beats overlap with guitarist Eddie Robertsâ frenzied Melvin Sparksâ-styled riffs and Joe Tattonâs drawling Hammond B3, building a locomotive of funk that stomped The Other Side.
There were strong whiffs of Grant Greenâs lithe, groovy vibe and George Porter Jr.âs buoyant, lurching basslines in âThis Ainât Work.â Tattonâs uptempo, percussive be-bop keystrokes recalled the best of Jimmy Smith in âMission Creep,â off the bandâs recently released, eighth album âOut On The Faultline.â
Tapping the repetitive lyrics and riffs tool employed by countless New Orleans musicians â patiently assembling layers of swelling funk â the New Mastersounds can easily move a house.
âUsually the hippy groups lock into a sort of sway,â drummer Simon Allen said after a rousing, countrified âIâm A Free Man.â âYou guys have got the groove.â
The New Mastersounds certainly is a borrowed sound, drawing if not downright stealing from the masters of soul, funk and jazz, building their own interpretation of Americaâs greatest contribution to the boogie. And they rep the funk as well as any of their many inspirations.
Roberts, dapper in suit and tie, charged each song with his roots-based licks but aptly steered beyond the tried-and-true. The uptempo, lounge-y âSummercampâ could easily be construed for Euro techhouse, with Robertsâ punchy 4/4 signature upsized by Allenâs off-beat high-hat. The band vamped the trippy in âFlimsy Lewis,â with Robertsâ strumming triplets conjuring the swampiest acid jazz grooves.
The Brit-tweaked funk mingled well with the peppery, hippy fog at the Other Side, where the recent passage of Amendment 64 was hazily heralded Saturday night. When the band paused, the crowd fumbled, tripping on toes and spilling cocktails in the packed-to-the-rafters, sold-out venue. But when Allenâs busy tempo took hold, melding with Peter Shandâs bursting bass, the place fell into a suddenly smooth flow, throbbing with the band in lock-stepped groove. By 2:30 a.m., the place was as busy as it was at midnight, with a sweating, cheering, pie-eyed crowd reluctant to release that rare, shared cohesion.
Jason Blevins is a strange dancer, but that has never stopped him.