Truth be told, I'll be the first to complain when someone amalgamates genres into some absurd abstraction and pins an unknown artist to it. As a fellow music listener, I understand the cocked head and obvious “huh?” factor that may ensue. I understand that labeling a musician under a particular genre puts them at a crossroads: they are either viable to be written off at first listen or praised for their standout creativity. I duly note my hypocrisy and ask for permission to be excused so that I can introduce the gypsy-funk that EVOLFO DOOFEHT infected Cafe 939 a few Saturdays ago, December 10.
DOWNLOAD: Evolfo Doofeht "Walk With A Demon" [mp3]
Organized by independent video-production house SEMIproductions, the showcase featured the laid-back funk rock of New York's POOFY AND THE BUSBOYS, rhythmically intense alt-rock Berklee boys BEAR LANGUAGE, and power pop boy band THE FATES. “The purpose of the show was to showcase local talent that isn't on any charts -- yet -- but has a great sense of music and are overall great people to work with,” said SEMIproductions co-founder Michael Irving.
Combining the high-energy brass band funk sound of the '70s with an eastern European gypsy flair, the eight (sometimes nine) members of Evolfo Doofeht brought the perfect blend of both cultures to their eight-song set.
Opening with two originals, singer and guitarist Matt Gibbs made sure everyone got to jiving with their namesake song “Evolfo Doofeht.” Drummer Julian Moore and auxillary percussionist Alex Kemper traded turns in the spotlight while Rob O'Block soloed on guitar through the breakdown, bringing back the main groove only to make everyone say “right on!”
A super smooth rendition of Daft Punk's “Something About Us” followed and slowed the pace down momentarily. Kai Sorenson punctuated the slow groove on trumpet, while keyboard player Rafferty Swinkage owned the keys so hard that they took on a voice of their own.
Other highlights from the set included the cool collaboration with rapper Aziz, as the band played the beat on his track “Boom Bap.” “Walk With a Demon,” available for free download a few graphs up, opened with an infectious riff akin to the vibrant and lively music of Gypsies themselves. The carefree attitude of the song was contagious; with outlandish outfits and Gibbs questioning whether there was anyone to tell him what to do, it was no surprise that the entire audience was moved to a dancing fervor.
Closing out the set with a rendition of Prince's “1999” provided a nostalgic reminder of simpler times, appeasing reality with feel-good funk. Like both Romani and punk culture, the band upheld a steady liveliness and sense of surprise throughout the set.