The Pimps of Joytime and The Gumbo Brothers @ The Santa Monica Pier
Despite missing my favorite funk band, Orgone, play at The Mint this past Saturday, my week has still been chalk-full of pure peace and funk. It started off with The Mason Affair this past Monday, and then last night The Gumbo Brothers and The Pimps of Joytime spread the gospel of funk to the masses on the Santa Monica Pier.
The pier feels like an old carnvial, somehow frozen in time, with a Coney Island quality to it. For the Twilight Concert series, sponsoring vendors sell food on the pier near the stage setup, and scents of roasted corn on the cob and kettle corn waft through the crowds.
Concerts at the pier are the true mark of summer - early July through early September, free live music graces the pier every Thursday night. While many crowd on the pier to catch a glimpse up close, even more gather on the sands just south of the pier to picnic, listen, socialize, and enjoy. Usually I'm only a sand-dweller, on blankets, red cup of 2buck Chuck in hand laughing and chatting, but last night I was right up there on the pier, grooving on the soft wood, my hair breezing about in the sea salty night air.
The Gumbo Brothers are up first - these much-loved Venice locals cover the essentials of funk, jamming out on the sax, trumpet, bass, guitar, keys, and drums - as well as host smooth vocals that keep the crowd dancing infectiously. One of my favorite lyrics of theirs sums up this band's chill vibe..."free yourself with the funk, lose yourself in the groove," very much like the true essence of Venice. They boast "ass-shakin' funk" and true to their word, the crowd in front of the stage is dancing away all of their week's worries, lost in a pure bliss of brass, beats, and electric-infused melodies. Special guest, and veteran of funk, Neo Nocentelli (of The Meters fame) does a number with the Gumbo Brothers as they wrap up their set.
A quick break sees me back down to the sands, navigating through the crowds of happy buzzed folks enjoying the summer evening, refilling their red cups and passing joints, glow sticks and other fun light-up toys abound. I find my friends who are strictly part of the sand crowd, with their tiny pup and their bottle of wine (neither of which are allowed on the pier), and we enjoy the party atmosphere before I head back up on the pier.
Soon enough, The Pimps of Joytime (PJT), a Brooklyn-based funk band takes the stage. PJT are experts at mixing their clearly versatile talents of other types of music in with funk, including latin influences and afro-beat rhythms. Their percussion versatility gives many of their songs entirely different vibes, but all are tied together by toe-tapping, body-shaking melodies lead by both male and female vocals - giving the crowd a rich sound, and a true dance workout. Neo played with PJT as well, and it was all over too soon.
What is great about the pier concerts, is that even when the music stops, the party continues on the sand - frisbees and volleyballs being tossed about, declarations of skinny dipping, and the idea of no tomorrow - who needs Fridays anyhow? And those silly horse cops can't / don't do a thing about it! ;)
until next time! xx