Toronto based collective After Funk rolled through Clark Hall pub on October 22nd and absolutely killed it. Don’t know who After Funk is? Fear not, I’m here to enlighten you!
After Funk is a seriously talented funk/soul quartet comprised of drums (Jaime Rosenberg), bass (Justin Bontje), guitar (Phil Tessis), and keyboard and vocalist (Yanick Allwood). With a self-titled EP release in 2014 and their newest sophomore album release in October of last year, this band is tearing up the post-funk-fusion music scene with their distinct sound.
After Funk’s ability to feature the various tried-and-true elements of classic funk with their own soulful inclinations makes me think they should be walking into the San Francisco sunset alongside Sly and the Family Stone. For all of you psychedelic soul rookies out there, take a listen. Warm up your ears:
When Yanick Allwood started singing the first song of the set, I was pleasantly surprised, to say the least. With a name like ‘After Funk,’ I was expecting an upbeat horn melody and a thick bass line, but what I wasn’t expecting was the pure soulfulness of Allwood’s voice. I think that’s what differentiates this band from other groups in the funk scene: their eagerness to dance (literally and metaphorically) between musical genres. The band’s surprises didn’t stop there, though. At one point in the night, Allwood whips out a keytar and proceeds to an unexpected, five-minute keytar interlude. At another point, lead guitarist Phil Tessis executes an insane guitar solo in the middle of Elton John’s Bennie and the Jets. Even better, all of this musical excitement is happening within the confines of the campus bookstore’s second floor bar. Disclosure: After Funk at Clark Hall Pub reminds us to never underestimate the power of live music in intimate settings.
There is something very powerful about listening to a psychedelic funk band in a post funk era. You’ll feel this when you listen to After Funk’s newest album Til The Sun Comes Up because its ability to toss you into another decade is undeniable. I’ll also provide a forewarning here to not sit too comfortably within one genre because the album is constantly shifting between instrumental jazz-fusion, psychedelic soul, funk rock, and even hip hop. The first song of the album Elephant Walk is a five-minute masterpiece containing classic horns and a funky bass line. But fast-forward five songs to Rage & Chuff and you’re into some serious AC/DC guitar riffs. Perhaps the most impressive moment on the album however is during Catching Sunrise when Canadian hip hop artist Choclair is featured alongside a gorgeous muted trumpet. After Funk’s ability to embrace various styles so easily is refreshing and makes a pretty clear statement about the versatility of the band. Their dynamic, all-encompassing approach to creating and composing such unique music will challenge your musical mind and leave you wanting more.
As with any other self-proclaimed funk band, the expectation of a wild live performance is in order…and After Funk is no exception. Their songs and energy will take you on a musical journey of the decades and undoubtedly test your reluctance to engage in public displays of intoxicated dancing. I advise all of you live music lovers to check out their next show on December 9th at Lee’s place in Toronto. You will not be disappointed!