Fringe Music Preview: Advanced Funk: East Meets West
Baldacchino Tent Bar – Fort Fringe
Tonight at 8:45 p.m.
Val's Take: Although Feedel Band is ostensibly the Eastern representative of this "East Meets West" show, their style is also a blend of influences from both sides of the Atlantic. Indeed, the band's name, Feedel, is an Amharic word for alphabet and they employ the guitar tonality and horn prominence of more established EthioJazz acts like Walias and Roha Band. That said, EthioJazz is in and of itself a fusion of styles, borrowing from American subgenres (including smooth jazz) and Feedel Band simply emphasizes those elements (particularly the piano) a little bit more. Also, Feedel Band's music seems a little more improvisational in nature, its twists smooth and calm but still unexpected.
Meanwhile, Backbeat Underground is ostensibly the show's Western representative, and the local funk band draws a lot from this nation's greats. They've become a regular presence throughout D.C. and is more than happy to reference District life in their song titles, as evidenced by "Walkin' on 8th Street." This act is instrumental and although they have the quick, rhythmic guitar conducive to dancing, they're also on the more mellow end of the funk spectrum. This is a band that works for both the crowd that wants to get to their feet and the crowd that's content to sit under the Baldacchino Tent.
Fringe Play For Whom They're The Best Fit: I Füçkè∂ Your Country. Of all the performers, gracing Fringe Festival's stages, sex educator Twanna Hines clearly has the best grasp on funk. Her Twitter handle says as much.