Los Angeles transplants Vulfpeck took the crowd by storm Sunday night July 14th at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. The show opened with a solo set by long-time Vulfpeck collaborator and local native Joey Dosik, with an accompanying multi-instrumentalist. A young crowd of enthusiastic fans gathered early at the outdoor amphitheater to enjoy the well-stocked food and beverage bars. It was a perfect date night with the late afternoon sun painting the surrounding hills in brilliant orange hues. Later, in the clear night sky, a full moon rose over the venue, creating a nearly perfect backdrop for an evening of inspiring dance music.
Dosik opened with a short set showcasing his exquisite singing voice. The singer displayed a pleasing retro blue-eyed soul style. He was augmented by Dosik’s musical partner onstage, who played a variety of percussions instruments as well as using a recorder to sample clips for live playback. Dosik also played guitar and piano, showcasing tunes from his debut solo album, “Inside Voice,” which was released last year. The golden-throated singer played Rhythm, and Blues infused tunes like “Take Mine” and “Running Away,” a gospel-inspired song “Stories,” and humorous “Game Winner,” a song infused with Los Angeles sports passion. The beaming singer seemed to be reveling in the warm hometown sunshine and applause from fans in the audience including his parents, to whom he gave a shoutout. The early birds in the audience seemed to enjoy the set participating in sing-alongs and cheering the performer after each song.
After a short intermission, a huge roar went up across the venue as Vulfpeck made a grand entrance one by one. Original member Jack Stratton was the first performer to take the stage, acting as the impromptu MC for much of the evening as well as singing and playing keyboards, drums and guitar. He introduced the other three original members of the band. Theo Katzman bolted onstage to lend his skills on guitar, drums, and vocals. Woody Goss rocketed straight to the keyboards. The groups extraordinary bass player Joe Dart completed the core lineup. They were joined by long-time collaborators Dosik on saxophone and vocals and frequent guest rhythm guitarist Cory Wong. The animated group of funk-inspired jam rockers ignited a passion in the crowd not usually seen at the normally stoic venue. In part, fueled by a general admission pit at the front of the stage, the band managed to engage much of the crowd in a dance trance sing-along throughout the first set. The band changed instruments and lead and backing vocal duties throughout the show, creating a fresh new approach to every song. The music the group produced covered a wide range of musical genres including sounds that emulated everything from the tunes of Fitz and the Tantrums to the Barenaked Ladies and from Primus to the funk of George Clinton.
Another long-time collaborator joined the band for the second set, Antwaun Stanley, an American R&B singer and songwriter from Michigan, where Vulfpeck got their start in music. Stanley is a great singer in the traditional sense of the genre and brought a whole new energy and excitement to the stage. Stanley danced wildly while exhibiting exquisite vocals on his signature tracks, from “1612” and “Funky Duck” to “Wait For the Moment” and “Aunt Leslie.” During a break in the second set, Katzman took over, acting as a one-person cheerleader to incite the crowd into a sing-along before the band returned to do an acapella rendition of “Back Pocket.”
The band ended the show with a triumphant multi-song encore of cover tunes that they call their wedding set. The set included covers of “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5, “December 1963,” by The Four Seasons, “September,” by Earth, Wind & Fire” and “It Gets Funkier,” by Chromatic Walk. The well-known tunes inspired a dance trance sing along in the jubilant crowd.