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Sound the Alarm

Twelve-piece Five Alarm Funk return to Whistler

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By Nicole Fitzgerald

What: Five Alarm Funk

When: Friday, April 6

Where: Garfinkel’s

Tickets: $10

Organizing, paying and transporting a five-piece band is no easy task, especially for an indie band still not hitting the touring road full-time. Bands are infamous for splitting due to clashing personalities not getting along, whether on the road or in the recording studio. The music life is no easy task.

Now take on all that with a 12-piece sonic juggernaut and you’ve got twice the challenges and then some. But for Five Alarm Funk, the Vancouver band takes it all in stride — or at least in a lot of e-mails.

“I think there is a huge organization commitment side to getting that many people on board,” said guitarist Gabe Boothroyd. “And to pay that many people, it presents a lot of challenges. But we are willing to face those challenges, because we have so much fun.”

Fun, along with a colossal sound and a stage exploding with the passions and energies of 12 delirium-induced musicians, makes all the hard work and rescheduling worthwhile.

The result of their efforts is a sound with searing guitar leads, blasting horn solos and a four-man percussion maelstrom of instrumentalization that keeps both players and dancers sweat-drenched.

“With more people, it’s definitely more of a party,” Boothroyd said. “We have high energy shows that make sure people get up and dance and get into it.”

The band of twenty-somethings doesn’t leave dancers much choice, with a smorgasbord of instruments to groove into.

Tayo Branston plays drums, Tom Towers congas, Carl Julig timbales, Justin Kennedy percussion, Neil Towers bass, Oliver Gibson guitar, Ryan Naso trumpet, Andrew Spence alto saxaphone, Eli Bennett tenor saxaphone, Nimish Parekh trombone, Max Murphy baritone saxaphone and Boothroyd guitar.

The costumed show of percussion-driven instrumental jams caters to jazz and club fans alike.

“We are not just strictly afro beat, we go all over the place,” Boothroyd said. “One new song has some epic rock sections like Santana. Another one it’s the whole Latin thing, a straight Cuban salsa tune.”

The common thread is the quality and personalities of each of the band members uniting the sound’s core that has won over crowds in clubs, concert halls and festivals throughout Western Canada, including headlining the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver. Five Alarm Funk’s self-titled debut album also charted college radio stations across the country, including reaching number two on Toronto’s CIUT station. The album is distributed nationally by Warner Music Canada.

With such a young band, the possibilities are endless, both on and off the music score.

“There is so much energy with all the musicians on stage,” he said. “There is also so many possibilities for arranging and orchestration, and making a big sound with that many people as well.”

Big sound drawing even bigger audiences.

Five Alarm Funk brings their live dance party to Whistler on Friday, April 6 at Garfinkel’s.

Tickets are $10.

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