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Vancouver, B.C. has always been a musical town. But back in the day, as far as sizzling, soulful funk, it was something of a desert … until some mysterious force drew two young cats together who would change that in a hurry.
From their first house party jams, drummer Tayo Branston and guitarist Gabe Boothroyd gathered a community of musicians who shared their love for James Brown, Tower Of Power, Tito Puente, Antibalas, Frank Zappa and other adventurous groove-driven players. They called themselves Five Alarm Funk, drew more than 300 fans to their first gig at a local place called The Fairview Pub, established a residency at Richards On Richards where upwards of 800 attendees would show up each night - to eventually embark on a 37-day, cross-continental track involving 30 shows from Vancouver to Fredericton.
They’re now deep into a new project that involves adding all-star guest vocals onto some of the more volatile tracks from their catalog, beginning with a Bootsy Collins appearance. “I’ve been a Bootsy Collins fan ever since I was 15,” Branston marvels. “That track we gave him, ‘Capital City,’ is one of the funkiest things we’ve ever cut. With that experience and our back catalog, you’ll see a lot more of this from us.”
With future releases and reissues with big-time rappers and funksters on the horizon, their sights are set on bringing their magic to festivals throughout the world. More sweat, more dancing … more Five Alarm Funk.
Gabe Boothroyd – Guitar
Tayo Branston – drums & vocals
Eli Bennett – Sax
Oliver Gibson – Guitar
Tom Towers – Congas
Carl Julig – Timbales
Kent Wallace – Trumpet
Jay Smith – bass
Jens Christiansen- Saxophone player