martes, 28 de septiembre de 2010
Musiquita de la buena
Esta semana escribí un artículo sobre una banda local de funk, blues y jazz. Aquí se las dejo.
Felan: Meaningful funk and no subtlety at all
By Gabino_Iglesias - Monday September 27, 2010 - 12:13 pm
Bored with what 6th Street has to offer? Tired of the same old sound? Ready for something better than dime-a-dozen singer/songwriters and throwback bands that sound homogeneously boring? Weary of bland punk bands? Then I have a recipe for you: throw together some funk, sprinkle in some jazz, add a touch of blues, put in some Latin seasoning, insert a ton of talent and a mix it all with a good serving of enthusiasm. The result is called Felan, an 8-piece Austin-based hard-edged funk band that has the power, the chops and the fire to shake this town to its core on every performance…and they’re about to blow up.
Last Wednesday I sat down with Alex Felan and Erik Telford, the commanding duo behind one of Austin’s most explosive bands. Felan and Telford met a few years ago when they played together in another band. As it often happens in music, that became the genesis of what they’re doing now. “We’re a hard-edged funk band but we bring a little bit of everything to the table; Motown, jazz, Latin. We’re not a throwback band or a neo-soul band,” explained Felan, who’s in charge of keys and vocals. With a delicious plethora of influences, Felan sounds like everything you want to hear while simultaneously managing to throw a new, fresh sound your way. “When you have a horn section, you can pretty much do whatever you want,” said Felan.
If starts are any indication of future success, these guys are destined for greatness. Their current fiery sound has its origins in a gig they played a while ago. “We were playing and started wondering what would happen if we played all out, balls-to-the wall,” reminisced Telford. And they did. The outcome was a blast of sound that made them choose not to play any other way ever again. Telford mentioned that the experiment angered a few musicians in the audience and that a small exchange of words was had over Facebook. Nevertheless, a great thing can’t be denied so, according to Telford, “it’s all good.”
Yeah, it’s all good. With a band packed with professional musicians trained in places like Baylor, our own University of Texas at Austin and Berklee, Felan boasts that perfect mixture of guts to experiment with and the instruction to back their trips into the improvisational stratosphere. I asked them both what it’s like to play with such great musicians. “It’s a great way to stay different,” said Telford, “every time we play it’s a different show, even if the songs are the same. We like to change things on the spot so that you always hear something new,” explained the trumpeter and composer.
As for Felan, the experience is one of constant wonder: “It’s like magic; there’s no over thinking, we’re just there, doing it. It’s an uninformed process but these guys have serious skills so there are no deer-caught-in-the-headlights looks when we’re up there,” said the bandleader. And watching them in action turns you into a witness of that musical magic: a tight sound full of explosive nuances that makes you nod your head, move your feet and love life just a little bit more. That’s what happens when tremendous musicians are able to meet on the same wavelength: meaningful music.
Want to see for yourself? You can catch Felan every Wednesday after 10:00 p.m. at Austin’s premier spot for sweaty dancing, cold beer and thrilling sounds: TC’s Lounge. The freedom and atmosphere at TC’s is something the band enjoys. “TC’s Lounge is one of the oldest venues in Austin,” said Felan, “there’s some good juju in here.” Erik had a few more reasons why the gigs at TC’s are the best: “You can bring your own beer and they have pickled pig’s feet at the bar. I don’t think they have pickled pig’s feet at Momo’s… and if they do, they’re not $1.75,” concluded Telford.
Felan is currently working on a demo that they hope will be out by Christmas. As soon as it’s out, they plan on getting it in as many hands as possible: “We want to get our music out there,” said Felan, “we are all about touching people, getting a meaningful reaction out of them with our sound.” In other words, be on the lookout this upcoming Christmas and get your hands on that demo: it’s something you will enjoy and want to share.
Before letting them get onstage to do their funky thing, I asked the two musicians why people should go watch them. “We are available for rent, you can buy us…we have no shame and we will do many things to amuse you,” said Telford. How can you pass on a deal like that? “When you see us come out, you’ll enjoy it,” added Felan, “it’s good music for good people.”
You can check out Felan at felanmusic.com, and also check out Erik Telford’s various other projects at ejtmusic.com. Also, if you want to get to know Alex, Erik and the rest of the gang, make sure you drop by TC’s Lounge, on 1413 Webberville Road in East Austin. A minute into their first song you will know why subtlety is not their strong suit.