Last night the funk was flowing at Brooklyn Bowl, that real hip joint down on Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg. The mood was set well before the show began with patrons working the lanes while funk and soul poured out of the speakers: Diana Ross, Junior Walker, the Supremes. Just being there was enough to get you in the mood, with the decor done up in ’60s hep-cat style, all dark brown leather sofas and wood paneling. The opening act, Turkuaz, took the stage for an hour-long set that seemed like a show in its own right. The group plays a bombastic, driven kind of funk and with eight members total, it packed a lot of sound in there.
When the Funky Meters came out the dance floor was full, and anyone left on the lanes played with one eye on the stage. The Funky Meters opened up with a take on Bob Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women #12 & 25” that lasted well over seven minutes. That led into a version of the Dixie Cups’ “Iko Iko” that went for six. But it was not to be a cover show. The players stretched the Meters’ original “Just Kissed My Baby” into a dance jam that set the whole floor moving. “Fellahs, kiss your baby, right now!” said bass player George Porter, Jr. “Now kiss somebody else’s baby!” Porter kept up with the crowd, conducting it through “Fire On The Bayou” with Porter growling the lyrics and the crowd following up with the “Fire!” refrain. There was a fair amount of onstage interaction as Porter and guitarist Leo Nocentelli went face to face and dueled guitar against bass. Nocentelli’s battered Fender Stratocaster won out with its array of effects, despite Porter’s incredible prowess on the bass. Someone could tell Nocentelli to check out the guitar show at the Bowl this Sunday, but he’ll probably stick with his Strat, even though it looked like it was falling apart.
All photos below by Alex Eriksen