I attended James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., and studied Music Industry. One of my professors my junior year, Mikey Glago, taught my concert production and promotion course during which the class had to produce and promote about a dozen shows throughout the semester and raise money for a final concert benefiting a charity of our choice. We chose the Susan G. Komen Foundation and our final concert was The Machine, the well-known Pink Floyd tribute band. The show raised more than $5,000 for the organization.
Glago taught the course because he essentially started it with his own idea to put on an event raising money for a charity several years earlier. He called his three-day festival Spaghettifest, keeping the same theme as his band, Midnight Spaghetti and the Chocolate G-Strings. I attended two festivals while I was at JMU and might find myself there again this September. I always thought a certain Syracuse funk band would be a good fit for the fest, too…
Spaghettifest will be embarking on its ninth run this year bringing bands including Murphy’s Kids, Jounce, The Wavos, Ryan Villanueva, Unfortunate Sons and many more for three days of camping and music in Frederick, Md. And, yes, Midnight Spaghetti and the Chocolate G-Strings are always sure to serve spaghetti at midnight following their set.
The show last night was a flashback for me and a heavy dose of original funk for the rest. Midnight Spaghetti’s big-band feel with guitar, bass, drums, vocals, sax and trumpet blew up the underground venue. Many of the tunes gave a definite Average White Band feel, thanks to Glago’s guitar riffs and the sax addition of Matt Ellis. Interspersed hip-hop vocals and robotic dance moves were added to the mix by the MC, Ricky Night, dressed up in a Funk N’ Waffles t-shirt and Syracuse University baseball hat. Drummer and vocalist, Ryan Hale, began the show with his bright red hair spilling out from under his woven winter hat with aviators hiding his face. As the show went on, the hat and glasses came off and the 'fro flew as he slammed the tiny kit. Midnight is always a fun show, never lacking in energy and originality. I recognized several tunes from their 2006 album Velour on the Floor (Midnight Spaghetti Productions), including “Me on My Own” and “Popo,” and was happy to hear newer material from an anticipated album.
The group is solid from the bottom up, pumping funky slap bass with hard-hitting drums beneath layers of horn flourishes and deft guitar riffs combining to make a sound perfect for dancing. The band is currently on a Northeastern tour--The Ginger Takeover Tour--hitting Vermont, New York City and other stops along the way. They expect a return trip through Syracuse later in the year on their way up to Canada.
Following the big band came the big sound of the Sophistafunk trio, Adam Gold, Jack Brown and Emanuel Washington. The group played several off their new album, twentyeleven (Funk is So Phat Records) and brought up the sax, trumpet and guitar players from Midnight a few times throughout the set, adding a new level of intensity to their already wildly energetic show.
Sophistafunk announced they’d be playing every Thursday in
September at their home-base, Funk N’ Waffles, promising funk-lovers they’d be
there to satisfy the hunger. Here’s hoping Midnight Spaghetti will be back for
a second helping, too.