As I walked down to the intimate and smoky confines of XOYO, the crowd were already in good spirits as the warm up DJ was wetting the appetite for Dam-Funk by expertly weaving through a delectable selection of classic boogie and disco. After a closer inspection, the selector turned out to be no other than Benji B, who finished his set expertly with a rare jazz funk classic, Manzell’s 1979 track ‘Space Funk’. With his deep selection and tight mixing, Benji B once again exhibited his lauded versatility and set the mood perfectly for Dam-Funk.
After a brief silence, the Doctor of Funk himself walked onto the stage, quickly followed by his band, and they immediately reset the mood with a jam to ease us in and get everyone onstage comfortable. As the music slowly died down, Dam Funk asked the audience ‘If they were ready for some motherfucking funk?’, drawing a large applause and laugher from the buoyant crowd. Dressed in a red wolly hat, large sun glasses and oversized leather jacket, his eccentric and lovable personality was easily matched by his outlandish outfits; and like one of his heroes Prince, the Stones Throw man went for a ridiculous number of wardrobe changes throughout the evening!
Dam-Funk’s energetic performance felt like an immersive journey through the history of the funk. Throughout the evening, his songs made me recall classic material by legends like George Clinton and Prince, left-field boogie and disco straight out of the West End Records/Prelude handbook and the work of British jazz-funkers Freeez and Atmosfear. By bringing an undeniable charisma and passion to the night’s proceedings, Dam-Funk’s performance confirmed he may be one day spoken in same breath as his heroes.