Concert review: Alan Evans Trio and the Rhythm Section Road Show throw funk fiesta at the Old Rock House, Saturday, May 5
The opening act went on an hour later than announced; presumably waiting for the Cinco de Mayo crowd to bring their fiesta to the Old Rock House with them. Once the party got started though, there was funk for all.
Alan Evans is the drummer from the band Soulive, which was founded by his brother Neal Evans and himself in the late 1990s. Their upbeat, power grooves gained them notoriety on the funk/jazz scene, and Soulive still has a strong following. The Alan Evans Trio is Evans’ own offshoot project consisting, again, of an organ, guitar and drum lineup but with Evans in a leading role with Danny Mayer on guitar and Beau Sasser on the Hammond organ.
It’s a comfortable setting for Evans and that comfort shows in their music, which never falls far from Evan’s roots. Mayer comes from the On the Spot Trio, which has an established position of its own on the funk scene. Sasser has played with no less than Maceo Parker, Melvin Sparks and Medeski, Martin, and Wood among many others. Currently, when not playing with Alan Evans, Sasser leads his own organ trio.
Led by 88.1 KDHX DJ Andy Coco, the Rhythm Section Road Show opened with a set of jam rock funk, that brought everyone off their feet and onto the dance floor. The Roadshow this night was Teddy Presberg on guitar, Coco on bass, Kyle Honeycutt on drums and Chris Stevenson on organ. Songs featured in the set included “Flash Mob” by Teddy Presberg and a funkified rendition of Led Zeppelin’s “Your Time is Gonna Come.” They did a great job of opening the night and warming the crowd up for the Alan Evans Trio.
Once the Alan Evan’s Trio hit the stage and were ready to play, Evans called out to the crowd: “Do you want us to play quiet or loud?” The audience yelled out, “Loud!” in reply, which brought on a drum fill opening and the trio’s first song. They followed the opening song with “Authoritay,” the first track from their new album “Drop Hop.” This was followed by the crowd getting together and dancing while the grooves propelled a meager but very-involved audience while being blasted by some very loud funk.
The night went on and we were bombarded with explosive drumming, soulful guitar solos and masterfully orchestrated organ playing. The Cinco de Mayo spirit seemed to be in effect among the crowd as well as on stage. My initial expectations going into the concert were to find a serious funk jazz trio laying down some serious music. It being Saturday and Cinco de Mayo it seemed they might have sacrificed the seriousness a bit to bring the party to the Old Rock House. Not particularly my cup of tea, but it’s what worked for the crowd so I cannot fault them for it. It was definitely a fun night for everyone there.