The Urbanite: The renegades of funk: Five Alarm Funk

The Urbanite – Jon Liedtke – July 2, 2014

Five Alarm Funk take their nine-piece pumped up funk to The Capitol Theatre 

Vancouver heavy-weight funk champions Five Alarm Funk are bringing their raucous and wild antics back to Windsor to perform at the Capitol Theatre. 

The nine-member troupe has performed. multiple times at Phog Lounge, every time to sold out crowds, often to those without tickets taking the show in along University Avenue dancing on the sidewalk and in the streets till their hearts’ content. The band will play for the first time at the Capitol Theatre’s Joy Theatre room, and with no seats there will be plenty room for dancing. 

“We’re touring the Abandon Earth album, our concept album,” said Tayo Branston, lead vocalist and drummer for the band. “The demise of the planet Earth by a tyrannical Ice Cream Man and a giant robot.” 

The band is in the midst of a 17-show streak from Vancouver to Montreal and back again, and Branston explained that “things are cooking right now, seriously cooking” and that the band is “on fire and ready to rock and roll.” 

“It’s getting to the point where the band (members) all really believing in what we’re doing and everybody is going harder than they were before. So the mojo and the love amongst the group is at an all time high right now.” 

Branston sees touring as the most freeing and beautiful experience ever and explained that while the band travels primarily via a new tour bus, that they often employ unconventional methods to get around. “We got Segways, we got boats, hovercrafts, the whole nine yards, we’re just waiting for the spaceship to come and take us out of this galaxy.” 

Five Alarm Funk has been performing consecutively for 11 years and Branston said in that time they’ve come to learn the ropes of touring. “We’ve learned how to get a pretty good system going on, each individual player has their own individual responsibility that they take care of, it’s a well oiled machine at this point.” 

For a cross country tour with only eight days off, the journey is “intense,” but Branston noted that it’s what the band lives for. “We live to be on stage, not to take nights off and goof around. It’s exactly what we want to do. That’s the only way you can survive; you’ve got to make some money right.” 

The band has seen a great response on the tour so far, performing to sold out venues city to city. “It’s extremely exciting to see and just to be able to play for packed houses every night, that’s living, that’s the fun of what we’re doing. The more people there, the more energized we are, the more fun we’ve having. It’s great to see people coming out and supporting music.” 

Just being in a band provides challenges, touring can compound the issue, but Branston explained that while challenges occur every day, that they’re not the end of the world. “It’s always challenging, but it’s what we live for. If life doesn’t throw you challenges, then what the hell are you doing?” 

Branston always wanted to be a touring musician and to him the greatness of being a touring musician is seeing “all the sights the sheer beauty of the country is amazing.” 

“It’s really exciting to see the same friends and fans come back. Now when we go to Windsor or Winnipeg, we literally have friends that we get to go and play music for. That’s one of the wonders, you get to play and create to new people.” 

The Urbanite and Phog Lounge present Five Alarm Funk, July 8 at 10 p.m. at The Capitol Theatre with The Nefidovs. Tickets are available at Phog Lounge for $15 advance, or $20 at the door. 

The Urbanite: The renegades of funk: Five Alarm Funk
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Jon Liedtke (The Urbanite – Jay Verspeelt)

Jonathon Liedtke is the managing editor of The Urbanite, Windsor’s alternative newspaper. He is also a member of Windsor’s “Punk with Horns” band The Nefidovs, and as such, is committed to enhancing and sustaining the arts community.

The Urbanite


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