Chicago’s historic Congress Theater will be kicking it old school April 19, 2013, with an homage to the classic bygone era of funk, soul, R&B music, in a concert featuring New Orleans-based Funky Meters, Greyboy Allstars, Maker, plus two Windy City favorites, Jesse De La Pena and JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound.
In a recent exclusive Q&A with the one of the concert’s organizers and two band members, they shared their thoughts on the upcoming event, musical inspirations and how they keep on groovin’!
How ‘Funky’ got its name
Headliners Funky Meters explain how their interesting band name came about:
“Since the band consists of not only the founding member, Art Neville, of The Meters, and The Meters’ original bass player, George Porter, Jr., (in addition to Russell Batiste, Jr. and Brian Stoltz) to forge ahead carrying the band’s legacy and bring it into the future – the only way to put a new stamp on the name and properly define what the sound would be …was to add the word “funky”…Funky Meters!”
The group says what the audience can expect from the upcoming Congress Theater show:
“We bring it every time we hit the stage no matter where we’re playing…this time will be no different and it’s been a minute since we’ve played Chicago – we’re excited to be back in town playing to the fans. (this time) we’re sharing the bill with our friends, Greyboy Allstars. It’s gonna be a great night of music, friends, family and fans.”
Funky Meters says their most memorable experience is simply the fact that after all the years of playing together, they’re still around, doing what they love to do:
“We’re still playing and keepin’ it fresh. And we’re still ready every night to bring the grooves that make everyone want to dance. Those 2 hours on stage are always an experience.”
Sweat, soul and sweet sounds
Another act sharing the bill with Funky Meters are JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound, a hard-working band that really capture an energetic, retro style of performing reminiscent of classic 60s/70s soul entertainers.
JC Brooks shares his musical motivation: “I get my inspiration from other artists who sweat onstage – whether or not I like their music I dig the energy of active performers. I see it as my chance to be utterly unlike myself in my everyday life: frenetic and hyperemotional. My mother used to sing in a couple of bands – she introduced me to some of my favorite music.”
Brooks lists Stax Records, Otis Redding, The Stooges, Jam & Lewis, Nile Rodgers and David Bowie among a long list of influences.
Movies, music and groovy moves
Along with great music, concert goers can check out the CIMM Fest Music in Movies Panel.
Concert promoter Michael Berg, who also fronts the impressive local band Van Ghost, dishes on what fans can look forward to seeing and hearing:
“CIMM Fest is Chicago Interactive Music & Movie Festival and an incredible cultural contribution to our city and arts community locally. The panel which is moderated by Columbia College Film Chair president Bruce Sheridan, Melvin Van Peebles, Elgin Park (of Greyboy Allstars) and a few other special guests TBA! We are proud to affiliate with CIMM Fest to offer this panel that will run from 6:20-7pm sharp. Music starts with DJ Maker and legendary DJ Jesse De La Pena prior to the 3 main acts do their thing!”
The 17 and over general admission show will feature an entire dance floor as the theme for the evening.
“My partner Leif (Moravy) and I came up with the theme during a conversation about the early days of Silver Wrapper. Our founding partners were jam, funk & jazz promoters and since Leif and I took over since around 2005 we have changed the format of our events to more jam friendly EDM bands, DJ’s, rock and indie focus as well as producing festivals. This show is a total throw back to the early era with some new and old classic funk and soul artists that we are very excited about,” says Berg.
The audience is encouraged to dress in classic retro clothing for the concert (i.e. giant afros, bell bottoms, vests, etc.) but there will not be a costume contest.
Tickets for the April 19th concert are available for a limited pre-sale amount of $25 or a 4 pack of tickets at a reduced rate. Congress Theater is located at 2135 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago. A
Perhaps this would be the kind of show that the late Don Cornelius, the creator/host of Chicago’s original “Soul Train” would have been proud to be a part of, as it keeps the music, memories of the past alive and kickin’.
Robert Levy has a diverse background in the arts and has had the pleasure of interviewing professional actors, musicians, producers, and civic leaders. In addition, Robert is a Chicago-based musician and artist who has produced several CDs and been featured and interviewed on “Chicago Acoustic Underground,” “Chic-A-Go-Go,” and WLUW.