The spirit of rock ‘n’ roll is still alive and while it may come in many forms these days, Five Alarm Funk, a Canadian band based out of Vancouver, have manifested this spirit in their genre-bending style of self-described “shark funk.”
Set to play at Maxwell’s on March 29, the band is an ensemble of blaring horns, funky rhythms and shredding guitar, mixed in with outrageous live shows that are high energy and high volume. Sitting down with the band’s drummer Tayo Branston, it was evident they’ve stayed true to their beginnings.
“Five Alarm Funk was formed through friends coming together over their sheer love of music,” Branston said. “We met as a small group at jam sessions and house party’s, basically, and through that small group we kept adding, and we knew we wanted to create this giant sound.”
Five Alarm Funk has been releasing tracks as early as 2006, with their self-titled album Five Alarm Funk and their latest release, Sweat — now available on iTunes.
“We may be considered calling [our genre of music] ‘shark funk,’ because it’s super deadly funk,” said Branston.
This is the best live show we’ve ever put on. The band is super tight, we’re having tons of fun and we’re ready to bring an amazing concert.
-Tayo Branston, drummer for Five Alarm Funk
Keen listeners may notice their musical styles ranging from punk, ska, prog-rock and so on, but the fusion of all these styles allows the band to be something truly unique. A few of their musical influences include Rage Against The Machine, Tito Puente, Primace and Frank Zappa. Many of these names shine through their songs, each leaving little hints as to where they were placed in songs like, “Wash Your Face” and “We All Scream.”
“It’s the passion and love to create. Why does a painter love to paint? It’s self-expression,” Branston said.
The same can be said for many artists, whether it be painting, music, film — the passion that Five Alarm Funk exude in their performances, goes hand in hand with this self-expression and elevates their music to something more than just a band performing music.
“For me [the one defining song] would be the first track off our new album Sweat: “Widow Maker.” I think it’s exactly where the band has been honing our sound for the last couple of years.”
And perhaps some fans of the band would agree, as the song is the same Five Alarm Funk from previous years, but more precise — more refined — in the way that the song almost seems to attack the listener — an attack of unbridled rhythm and sound, horns and guitar, all set to a funky baseline.
People can expect “hot, sweaty, tight, punchy, funk” from tonight’s performance.
“This is the best live show we’ve ever put on. The band is super tight, we’re having tons of fun and we’re ready to bring an amazing concert for everybody,” Branston said.
Five Alarm Funk are no strangers to the Waterloo area either, as they have previously played at Maxwell’s and the Waterloo Jazz festival.
All in all, Five Alarm Funk are poised to make some big noises happen at Maxwell’s this evening.
“We cannot wait to come and party with you guys. This the best show we’ve ever had and we’re very excited about it and we can’t wait to see you there,” Branston said.