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Five Alarm Funk bringing back fun

Jazzy funk outfit highlight horns and drums




When a band is made up of 10 or more members so much is possible.

Rockers Five Alarm Funk will be in Whistler to show what's possible this weekend. The band's instrument line up includes: saxophone, trumpet, trombone, guitar and percussion.

Five Alarm Funk's live show includes choreographed arm motions, dance moves and head bobbing to the funky beats being belted out.

Sax player Dameian Walsh confirmed the whole band will be on stage at the Whistler show and he noted, in fact, that the band is challenged if one or more members aren't around.

"The way our music is arranged, if one person is missing then too much is missing," he says of his group. "Everybody's role in the band is almost vital."

Walsh says the upcoming Whistler show will include some of the new songs the band plans to feature on their fourth album.

"So far we've got eight or nine new tunes that we play at our shows," says Walsh.

The band likes to test new material on live audiences then use the crowd reaction they get to influence the final version of the song.

The band's third album titled Anything Is Possible was released in July of last year, some five years after the publication of their debut self-titled album in 2005.

"For Anything Is Possible we were all in a room together making sure we could see and hear each other," Walsh explains of the recording process used last time. "We were going for the best performance. We were going for the energy."

He says for the next album they aren't sure if they will record live from the floor or do more track recording and put the vocals and instrument mixes together in a master mix.

"We are going into this with our eyes wide open with a good idea of what we did last time," he says.

One option Walsh noted was a hybrid of the two methods where they record live from the floor then add individual tracks later to improve their live performance. But, he says they don't want a final product that is too "hygienic" or void of personality.

The group is evolving from a mainly instrumental outfit to include more vocal work. According to Walsh, the group is using what he calls gang lyrics or group vocals. If you have seen Five Alarm Funk live or watched some of their videos you know exactly what Walsh is talking about. The band weaves instrument solos, arm waving, dancing, laughter and short vocal bursts into their funky beats.

"We are just trying to have fun," Walsh says of the Five Alarm Funk live shows.

To make it fun he says the band incorporates non-musical visual entertainment into the live performances because the band gets that audiences like those elements in with the music.

While Walsh did the talking for the upcoming Whistler date he says Five Alarm Funk doesn't have a head alarm setter.

"Nobody is the head honcho," he insists. "Everybody gets their say. Everybody gets to have their input."

The group has been well received in the jazz community with performances at the Whistler Jazz Festival along with the jazz festivals in Toronto and Vancouver. Five Alarm Funk also played Whistler's Mountain Music Fest in September of 2009 and closed out the legendary final night of the Richards On Richards nightclub in Vancouver.

The collective recently performed at the Ottawa Blues Fest, Summer Meltdown in Darrington, WA and Five Alarm Funk is regularly featured at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver.

Walsh says the band also completed its first successful international tour by performing in Taiwan at the Keelung Mid-Summer Festival.

"We played in a jungle and we played on a giant beach stage," says Walsh.

Visit www.fivealarmfunk.com to purchase their albums and to preview two songs from Anything Is Possible.



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