Doors: 9 pm
$32.50 advance + HST & service charges
$40.00 at the door
The Nujazz Festival and Music & Politics are beyond stoked to present the Toronto debut of very possibly the tightest touring funk band in the world today -- the singular force of nature that is LETTUCE! With KC Roberts & The Live Revolution, After Funk and DJ Sax in the house, this is an absolute can't-miss, destined for the very top of the pantheon of live funk concerts this city has ever seen.
Celebrating their 20th anniversary as modern day rulers of old school funk, the
seven-piece Brooklyn-based juggernaut Lettuce drops their third studio album Fly
—a decidedly raging slab of relentless groove, hyper-charged syncopation and
psychedelicized soul anthems. Having blown up stages from coast to coast last
year, ranging from The Fillmore in SF to Terminal 5 in NYC, Bear Creek Music
Festival to Camp Bisco and all points in-between, Lettuce entered Brooklyn
recording studio The Bunker this winter with a fresh batch of road-tested material
and a revitalized sound honed razor sharp by a year spent on the road.
“We’re more together and set to crush than ever before,” says drummer and
chief songwriter Adam Deitch of the all-star group that he and his accomplished
band-mates cut their teeth with back in their Berklee School of Music days. That
much history, along with the A-list crop of projects that each member has taken
on away from Lettuce, gives the group a bottomless well of musical ideas and
unrivaled chemistry—in fact, referring to themselves as a band of brothers. “I was
in a practice room at 16 with Kraz, Zoidis, Shmeeans and Deitch and it all
clicked,” says “lead” bassist Erick “Jesus” Coomes. “We all felt rhythms in similar
ways. We were all about the pocket from day one.”
On Fly, the pocket is deeper than ever. “People tend to look at funk as a one-trick
pony, “ says Deitch, but the record smashes those limits by drawing on a range of
styles that can be traced from the early ’60s through the early ’80s, incorporating
plenty of modern hip-hop sensibilities—heavy bass, kick and snare—along the
The album’s one cover song, an all-instrumental version of War’s “Slippin’ into
Darkness,” is a reminder of the genre’s vintage origins but from there on up, therack progression emphasizes the band’s ability to steer funk in a new direction.
“I sketched out a bunch of ideas for songs that I felt would fit each musician
perfectly,” says Deitch, leaving plenty of space for each to add their own style to
the mix. As a rhythm section, Coomes and Deitch set the pace with a deep and
wide pocket. Guitarists Eric Krasno and Adam "Shmeeans" Smirnoff weave
electrified six-string rhythms that summon the magic of The JBs' Catfish
Collins/Hearlon "Cheese" Martin dual guitar frontline, while Keyboardist Neal "The
Hawk" Evans doubles up the low end as he simultaneously floats and stings with
jabs of Hammond B3 organ. Riding along in lockstep is saxophonist Ryan "Zwad"
Zoidis and trumpeter Rashawn Ross punctuating the Lettuce funk with blasts of
big, bold and infectious horn lines, while guest appearances by Brian “BT”
Thomas and Cochemea “Cheme” Gastelum further solidify what is already one of
the fiercest horn sections of this era. “We try to keep the horn lines simple and
melodic, leaving plenty of space for our insanely funky rhythm section to shine,”
says Zoidis. “We are always thinking about making people dance.” Soul vocalist
Nigel Hall comes in on the Krasno-penned track, “Do It Like You Do” and Charles
“Dawg” Haynes provides added percussion on “Let It GOGO.”
Look no further than Fly’s title track, though, for what sets these guys apart. The
laid-back vamp, recorded all-analog to two-inch tape, gets full Jamaican studio
treatment, dubbed out with vintage reverb and delay. That sort of thing is “only
something that Funkadelic might have touched on back in the day,” says
Smirnoff. Meanwhile, tracks like “Madison Square” and “Ziggowatt” (Deitch’s ode
to legendary Meters’ drummer Zigaboo Modeliste) sound like futuristic cuts from
the Stax back catalog. “It’s somewhere between old school and new school,”
Zoidis says of the sounds the band was able to achieve with engineer John Davis.
Evans’ “Bowler” may be the best evidence of where this supercharged group is
headed, with a tasty, stick-in-your-ear melody that continues through the track
and begs to be ripped open onstage. “All these experiences as individuals have
helped us grow in our own direction, be influenced by more things and have more
things to bring to the table as a group,” Smirnoff says. “When you have that
many variables, it’s a brand new project every time.”
Having evolved and refocused since 2008’s Rage! without ever dropping the
beat, Lettuce is getting ready to take audiences to the cosmos with Fly in the
trunk and a high-octane tour on the horizon. “Lettuce is like a Learjet that wasn’t
getting clearance from the tower,” says Jesus. “But we’re done just rolling around
on the runway.” They’re not asking for permission, so put your tray tables in their
full, upright and locked position. This plane’s itching for lift off.
New double album Parkdale Funk 2 out now!
After their set at the TD Toronto Jazz Festival in 2012, Artistic Director Josh Grossman called KCLR "scary good...a blast to hear and just as fun to watch." In September 2013, NOW Magazine listed KCLR as one of Toronto's 10 Local Buzz Bands Set to Break Big. And on October 15th, 2013 KCLR will release their fourth record, one that lives up to the buzz generated by their live performances.
Parkdale Funk 2: SIDES (PDF2) is a double LP featuring 27 tracks, 40 guest musicians and over 2 hours of music. Although it's a funk record on the surface, PDF2's track list highlights KCLR's strong jazz, rock and urban influences. The album is a culmination of nearly 2 years of work that was made possible by a crowdfunding initiative to which KCLR's fans contributed $26,000. PDF2 sessions began in 2012, and included contributions by Toronto hip hop legends D-Sisive, The Airplane Boys and DJ Grouch, as well as a live strings section and big band.
Throughout 2014, KCLR will be touring across Canada in support of PDF2. The band also has plans to release videos for many of PDF2's tracks, thus building the record into an even larger body of art and further recognizing the incredible support of their fans.
Musical boundaries are something that After Funk is simply not afraid to break. Since its beginnings as a four piece funk experiment, After Funk has steadily grown into an eight member collective that is now known for bringing groovy dance music wherever it goes. Even with its constant evolution, the group has stayed true to its mission of bringing back the good vibes of yesteryear. With roots in London, Hamilton, and Toronto, the group is no stranger to travelling and can be found performing wherever people want to have a good time.
Entering its third year as a group, After Funk has played shows across Ontario and Quebec including opening spots for Walk off the Earth, Snarky Puppy, Dumpstaphunk, Five Alarm Funk, and Boogie Wonder Band. The group's first EP, "Soul'd," offers 5 tracks that range from the relaxing stylings of
"Lay it Back" to the high energy funk of the group's self-titled track "After Funk.