Funk Brothers finally get their due at UF fund-raiser


Published: Thursday, January 19, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 18, 2006 at 10:39 p.m.
Think back over all the classics from the Motown era, from the Supremes to Smokey Robinson to Stevie Wonder to Marvin Gaye, from Holland/Dozier/Holland to Ashford & Simpson, from "My Girl" to "Tears of a Clown" to "ABC" to "Let's Get It On." You'll realize that Motown really was a factory of hits.
Now think about playing in the house band and getting paid $10 a song - hit or no hit.
While various artists from the Motown stable went out to become superstars in various arenas, the musicians that provided the heartbeat for so many hits over a 14-year period remained anonymous (with the possible exception of bassist James Jamerson, who gained some notoriety after Carol Kaye - another Motown session bassist - made a name for herself with the Beach Boys). Day after day, disregarding union standards, the Funk Brothers churned out hits like the proverbial well-oiled machine.
In recent years, the Funk Brothers got their due in a book and movie called "Standing in the Shadows of Motown," which outside of incredibly cheesy "re-enactment" skits, did a great job of telling the story of these funk and soul legends. Now that they're known outside of the Snakepit - the nickname given to the Motown recording basement - the Funk Brothers are touring again and showing the masses just how tight they really are.
Your opportunity to see them in the flesh comes in the form of the annual University of Florida Cultural Plaza fund-raiser this Saturday. So not only can you feel good about supporting the Harn Museum of Art, the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and the Florida Museum of Natural History, but you can shake your moneymaker to the sounds of Motown and show everyone your sweet moves.
In addition to said sweet moves, if you want to show everyone how thick your wallet is, I'd recommend the entire black tie-optional gala at $150 a ticket, which starts at 5:30 p.m. However, if you're living on Five Star and Super China Buffet, you might want to consider attending just the concert for $30, which begins at 8:30 p.m. The choice is yours.
If you choose option A, however, you might want to consider purchasing an extra ticket for your favorite Scene columnist (tuxedo rental for aforementioned columnist not included in ticket price). Additional info can be found at www.plazaparty.uff.ufl.edu.
As for tonight, you might want to check out Kind of Like Spitting, Swayze and Warren Hixson at Common Grounds, 210 SW 2nd Ave. Swayze are right in the middle of a two-week tour with Kind of Like Spitting and Warren Hixson along for the Florida dates, as well. As is the norm for Thursdays, Bambu and co. are spinning smelly stuff out on the Porch. Recommended.
Also tonight, at Eddie C's, 1315 S. Main St., Band Marino, Awesome New Republic, West Fifties and Travis McLeod will do their thing among smoke machines and DVD recording devices. While I can't speak for McLeod or West Fifties, Band Marino and Awesome New Republic are, well, awesome.
Looking at Friday, you might want to consider heading over to the Side Bar, 15 SW 2nd St., for Alias, famed Anticon producer. Also on the bill are Science Non Fiction, Bluebird, Astronautalis and Brainsick.
Moving on to Saturday, you'll definitely want to check out Velveteen Pink, ... and this is my odyssey, Alphabet City and March to May at the Atlantic, 15 N. Main St. This is a great opportunity to check out the up-and-coming bands in town (soon to be cream of the crop?).
Also on Saturday, the Samples and Killarney Star will bring body heat to Common Grounds. This should be an interesting evening, which should start promptly at 9 p.m. Apparently, if you want a good vantage point from which to request songs and such, you'll need to get there early.
As the poster children for the DIY grassroots aesthetic, the Samples are going to bring in a big crowd, so be prepared. They have more than 18 releases under their belt at this point, so their mélange of bluegrass, rock and improv jazz should be easily digestible. You should know about Killarney by now, and if you don't, here's a perfect opportunity to catch her performing with one of her favorite bands.
The Side Bar rounds out Saturday with One Drop, the Legendary JC's and Poor Vida. If you have to ask, then you need to attend.
As for next week, the Side Bar has a great Tuesday night show lined up with The Living Blue (formerly the Blackouts), Dear and Glorious Physician and Apollo Quartet. Get out there to see rock done right.
Support local music and frantic columnists.
Conor Mitchell can be reached at soundcheckconor@ yahoo.com.

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