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Five Alarm Funk next Wednesday



Who: Five Alarm Funk/ Hey Ocean

When: Wednesday, Dec. 21

Where: Garfinkel’s

Think James-Brown funk meets Afrobeats influences and you’ve got Five Alarm Funk, an electric 12-piece juggernaut of horns and percussion coming to Garfinkel’s Wednesday, Dec. 21.

"It’s got a big band sound with a lot of epic horn lines, Afrobeat rhythms from four percussionists and percolating guitars," said guitarist Gabe Boothroyd.

"We’ve had a lot of different influences, like Fela Kuti (from Nigeria) and Antebellas from New York. We’ve been compared to Santana a lot. Our percussion lineup is similar."

Whatever the influences, the music is as the name suggests: Hot. Hot. Hot. – Both on and off the dance floor.

"A Five Alarm blaze is a very serious fare," Boothroyd said. "We rock out a bit more than the average funk band. It’s something you need to go to to get that hot. It’s so hot, it’s five alarm."

The two-year-young band packs in fans at hot spots around Vancouver, including Richard’s on Richards and has performed at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival and Western Canada Music Awards. The band has also toured the B.C. music festival circuit with shows at Revelstoke Beats and Blues, Golden’s Georgefest, Invermere’s Music in the Mountains, and Bonfire and Equinox festivals on the Sunshine Coast.

Transporting the 12-musician band is always a challenge, along with getting everyone on the same schedule. However, the band was finally able to orchestrate the dozen instrumentalists at The Factory recording studio in Vancouver to produce their first self-titled album set for release next year.

"We are such a live band that feeds off the crowd," Boothroyd said. "We managed to capture that vibe that happens at live shows on the album…. We are primarily instrumental. Tower, our drummer, is our master of ceremonies and keeps the crowd into it with shout-out choruses. Mostly just really high energy dance music."

Five Alarm Funk will be joined by fellow Canadian band Hey Ocean, which began as a bunch of surfers swapping songs on the beaches of Costa Rica. The result was a music mash of folk, jazz, funk, hip-hop and pop, which incorporates whimsically poetic lyrics and funky freeform jams for what Gabriel Hall of Out West Music describes as "music you sing along to, dance to, drink to, drive to, relax to…. This is music you live to."