Words by: Sarah Hagerman | Images by: Manny Moss
Stanton Moore Trio/Greyhounds :: 11.21.08 :: The Parish :: Austin, TX
This was one of those nights where I – being of the anxious minded – brought a lot of baggage into the show, from personal worries to the latest news on Marketplace I had heard on my way back from work. But the justifiably enthused crowd that graced Austin's third annual Funkfest as headliners Stanton Moore Trio and openers Greyhounds lit up The Parish during this late November weekend was just the medicine I needed. One venue under a groove, we were all there to get up and get down at Funky Batz's fledging event. This is definitely one to mark on the calendars, and my only complaint is that I wasn't able to attend the next night, which featured Bonerama, On the One, T Bird & the Breaks, Flyjack, Uncle Bruno and a super jam. Sorry, dear readers, next year. The evening was also a reminder that almost every night at one of these locally grown events makes me – a New Englander who never would have dreamed she'd find herself deep in Bush country – fall further in love with Austin.
|Stanton Moore :: 11.21 :: Austin|
Greyhounds were reason enough to swoon. "These guys are an Austin institution," my buddy turned to me and said. It's no head scratcher why, however it is a head scratcher why, after nearly a decade, Andrew Trube (guitar) and Anthony Farrell (keys) are still relatively unknown. They do it for the love, and let their self-described "jank" bring that hot Texas weather around the country, but they threw down hard on their home turf. Getting the dance floor ground swell started off right, they were a little bit rough-around-the-edges and a whole lotta swampy. Serious humidity accumulated during their set. Trube was rocking a hipster cowboy look (how very Austin), and sneaking that guitar in and around Farrell's wailing keys, sometimes just fluttering over the rhythms before landing back in the marsh. He was laying down a light scat over the notes, when I saw Topaz standing on stage behind him.
"We saw him outside begging for money... ladies and gentleman, Charles Manson!" Trube proclaimed, before Topaz pulled out a reed breaking sax attack, building to some frenzied trilling. Trube affectionately ribbed Topaz a couple more times with his stage banter. Commenting on his always fancy dress, he described the wicked sax man as a "zebra-striped grackle." Fashion tips and all, the four gave it up to Austin's down home nature. Both Topaz and the Greyhounds returned to Texas after stints in New York and L.A. respectively, and a good portion of their material reflects that wish to go where people are real. The crowd tonight certainly possessed that un-ironic, genuinely thrilled nature, the kind that isn't afraid to sing the "yeah's" on "Whose Gonna Help a Brother Get Further?" This helping of the down and dirty was the perfect magnet for the happy local freaks, and would show any out-of-towners a tantalizing taste of the burgeoning local funk and soul scene.
|Topaz with Greyhounds :: 11.21 :: Austin|
Headliners Stanton Moore, Robert Walter and Will Bernard kept the contagious blast heavy during the whole shebang. I feel incredibly lucky that the relatively intimate environment of The Parish allowed me to sneak up to the front to really take in the technical prowess at work. Moore is just so damn fun to watch with that infectious grin, jumping up and pummeling his kit with whatever mallet, tambourine, hand or elbow was nearest his target. He would sometimes leap up, like he was sitting on the losing end of a see saw, throwing his whole body with percussive excitement. Walter would at times just close his eyes and let the notes come naturally, squeezing out jazzy breakdowns over some of the chunkiest keyboard basslines I've heard. Bernard would shoot him a smile from time to time, standing on humble, solid ground, slipping in and out of fancy fretwork and slinky sliding with agility. You could focus in on any one of them as they passed the hot ass potato and be contented.
When Moore would drop behind, allowing a teasing build-up of keys or slinky guitar, there was a lot of subtle texture to study. Then it would vault into a walloping rage, wired straight into the battery and revving that engine. Overall, this show was driving in fifth gear and it whizzed by. "Maple Plank" showed off why Stanton's the master of the punchy snare, while Walter's "Adelita" started off as a stroll then built to a run as he squashed the keys, making some organ juice. As the smoke inside The Parish grew thick, I was positive I heard a Hendrix tease ("Third Stone From the Sun" maybe?) and me and the guy standing next to me tried to figure out what it was. The fragrance in the air was taking its toll on our collective musical memory a bit, but there was no mistaking "Good Times, Bad Times" when it busted out. A handful of gentlemen took it upon themselves to sing out the lyrics, but it was so genuinely celebratory that it added even more glee to the whole experience (as opposed to just drunk, obnoxious crowd braying). Wrapping it up by making fun of the ritualistic nature of the encore, Moore said, "We'll forgo the pretense," before busting into "Over (Compensatin')" from Emphasis! (On Parenthesis). The would-be encore stewed and finally boiled down to a distorted, grungy bassline, drawing out the torrid meter to the very edge of curfew. Worries long shaken off, I felt a whole lot lighter.
|Stanton Moore Trio :: 11.21 :: Austin|
JamBase | Deep In The Heart
Go See Live Music!