Live Review from Funk Ska Nation:
1. Use Me (Cover)
5. Dragon Eyed Girl
6. Judge of Me
7. Let’s do the Lockdown
8. Disco Fantasy
Encore: Sundown Years
Tapped for the show in the nick of time, swing rock troupe Funkee Tung kicked Funk Ska Nation off with a hell of a bang. Boasting two saxophone players, guitarists, drummer, and bassist- who was sadly tucked way in the back, hidden by his amp for safety and sound purposes I take it- Funkee Tung’s six-man-strong outfit had the crowd up and grooving in minutes.
(Something has to be said about their commitment to the facemask rule imposed by the government; if saxophone players can wear masks over their noses, we can all wear our masks on the MTR!)
Opening with a cover song, Use Me introduced us to the hallmarks of Funkee Tung- namely, loud, funky basslines, smooth crooning vocals, and sexy guitar licks which channel midcentury American radio jams. Hot on its heels, Swaggerbones was a masterclass in running a tight onstage ship. From guitar solos to the beautiful sax harmonies, this number’s technical precision was unmistakable.
Warwolf, with its swaggering rockabilly vibes, proved a suitable dance break for two gents in the crowd who couldn’t wait for the lengthy musical interlude. It proved an ample warmup for the ridiculously catchy Bodyshot, punctuated by almost conversational saxophone melodies. Vocalist and rhythm guitarist Alan Francis was definitely feeling the heat (or just really spitting those words out), as he took an opportunity to call out for his backup mask as they wrapped the song. Now that’s dedication.
Dragon Eyed Girl continued the party, brimming to the teeth with smooth sax and winding guitars to soothe the funk rockers in the house. Things were pared back a notch with Judge of Me, its slower tempo allowing for a beautiful buildup which lands perfectly when that crescendo hits. A funk rock power ballad of sorts, this performance was the proverbial jewel in Funkee Tung’s crown that night.
Let’s do the Lockdown puts the guitars in the crosshairs, delivering some funk rock rhythms with a mellow 80s touch that perfectly blends the modern and the nostalgic. Our journey to simpler times- or perhaps just different ones- continued with Disco Fantasy, with thrumming bass and saxophones acting as a foil to the vocals, punching in on the offbeat as if in reply.
Speakeasy would have made a formidable closing number- funky, cheeky, loud, and showcasing the best of all members of the sextet. However, Sundown Years with its relaxed, chilled out musicality, is the equivalent of a cold beer on a warm summer night: the perfect palate cleanser to bookend a fantastic forty minutes of music.