The New Mastersounds Funk up the Fox
I'm blessed to have a solid group of friends who love live music, generally as much as me. There is little in life I find more enjoyable than watching close friends I've taken to a new group or artist turn and give me that look of excitement and say "Wow, you were right! These guys are amazing!" This look and this line happened more than a handful of times at the latest New Mastersounds show at the Fox Theater up on the good old Hill in Boulder, CO. "I know, I told you so!" was all I could quip back, with a grin.
I truly love all four gentlemen of the New Mastersounds; I can call them the tag of gentlemen because of a meeting with them after a show a little over a year ago at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom, in Denver. It really is true that you don't find many artists as genuine, who are as ridiculously talented as these four British lads.
Hello, my name is Tawny, and I am a Funk-Aholic. I love funk, and I love 1970's style funk. Nothing gets my booty wiggling quicker than a fat jumpy bass line, some jazzy drums, and soulful keys alongside ripping guitar riffs. What sets the New Mastersounds apart is how they meld their immense knowledge of music with their imposing talent then adds a dash of something modernly retro that results in a sound that is new and fresh.
Eddie Roberts, guitarist and retro fashionista of the group, grabs my attention with his stylish suit and white loafers and a rather lovely 1965 Gibson 330 guitar, which he often plays with tambourine in hand. His charisma really does ooze from every orifice. His sound is almost loopy I guess is one way to describe it, he takes you up and then boom loops ya just as quickly back down. Sort of like a rollercoaster, but with more fluidity.
I'm a big fan of Hammond organs; their sound is so deliciously vintage. Now pair that with what is called a suitcase Rhodes amp, you have me in keyboard heaven! Delight is an understatement on how I was feeling when I saw that is what Joe Tatton would be playing that night. You really cannot get more of an old school sound than with that setup. (I am just glad I didn't have to cart that from merry old England!)
Out of all the entire lot, Pete Shand gives off the coolest demeanor. Standing confidently with his bass he stands ready and determined. His hands and fingers glide effortlessly along his strings, all along his feet are bouncing his body to the beats.
Now, drum roll please, there is Simon Allen. This man isn't merely a drummer; he is a gob of goody candy sent from heaven. Ok ok so I might be just a tad biased, as I find Simon more than intoxicating. Like most of the band, this man is a work horse, but does so with varied facial expressions that one cannot tell if he is having a seizure, thinking deeply about his next beats, or if he's merely enjoying himself so much he is losing control of some of his bodily functions. I suppose we may never know until I am able to speak with him in person.
Right away the show starts off with a sizeable crowd for a mid-week Fox show. Even with school just starting, I am surprised at how much of buzz there is for the band to get on stage. Also, what strikes me is that the crowd at the Fox ranges greatly in age. I saw people from age 21 to age 61. The older the fan, the quicker they got their boogie!
Song after song after song the New Mastersounds commanded the attention of everyone in the house. Brow full of sweat, I wondered if they would be so kind as to give the audience a set break. I was exhausted from getting down by the time they exited the stage. Making my way outside I realized just how excited so many people were to be seeing them for the first time. My friends with gushing with gracious comments for bringing them along, although it was with a bit of coaxing I did so.
I find it difficult to write a song by song review of this show because honestly, each song was just as solid as the one before. All four of these musicians are top notch; they never miss or drop a beat, at least not by my ears standards. The frenzy they work the crowd into is unbelievably refreshing, as well as their down to earth personalities. I guarantee you that not a single person walked out of there without having a stupendously great time.
Please, I beg of you, do yourself a favor and check out the New Mastersounds, especially if you can live. Not all that often do they travel to the United States, but when they do generally they try to schedule a few dates in a row. Their shows are almost always very reasonably priced, at interesting venues that showcase great live music, so you have little to stand to lose if you don't care for them. Plus, you can personally blame me if you don't care for them, but at least you can then say you've given them a listen.