Every once in a while I shoot a band that’s so good, it makes me question what I’ve been doing with my life. After shooting Five Alarm Funk at Mercury Lounge last weekend I came out thinking, “Well, I’ve been doing it all wrong… I should have started playing the drums years ago, instead I wasted my time learning to walk and feed myself, how useless is that”… and thinking was about all I was able to do, as my senses were pretty much useless at this point, having retreated to their happy place to recover and avoid all the nasty things that fell into the category of “Not Five Alarm Funk”.
I’ve said many times in the past, a truly great show isn’t just about great music, that parts kinda essential, but it just provides a solid foundation to build a show on. Five Alarm Funk took a seriously tight set and turned it into a sonic circus, and made the crowd of 40ish, that braved the sweltering heat to come out on a Sunday night, feel like a packed auditorium. Trying to sell concept albums to intoxicated patrons through a club sound system can be tough, especially without the use of accompanying video visuals, and with minimal lyrics you’d think it impossible. That night they played a half dozen tracks from their upcoming album that tells a tale of a deranged ice cream man, giant robots, ogres, volcanoes black holes and Armageddon… and it worked, perfectly. The only bad part of the night was finding out that song arc hasn’t been recorded yet and I’d have to wait till next year to hear it again.
If you’re an up and coming band that wants to improve their live game, take some notes from Five Alarm Funk… check out the rest of my photos, go on YouTube or catch one of their shows. You can feel the energy rolling off them from every note, every gesture and every move. This is what a band that truly loves making music, and who wants you to love it along with them, looks like on stage.
PS – a huge shout out to the sound guy at Merc, you did an amazing job making sure every one of the ten musicians on stage could be picked out of the sonic assault that occurred.