Live At The High Noon

Phat Phunktion

A group of University of Wisconsin-Madison music students formed Phat Phunktion in 1996, and since then, the R&B outfit has grown to be one of the most-talked about bands in the Midwest. They are winners of industry awards and producers of their own CDs that have sold to thousands to fans across the globe. When they played Japan, the press called Phat Phunktion the "new Tower of Power." On the Live At The High Noon CD and DVD, we get this band’s up-tempo groove power at full-frontal force.

This nine-piece band is especially solid at the staccato horn attack, elevating what might have only ever been a highly evolved dance band to a truly unique group of musicians. From the opening jump and jive of “You Want It All,” to Vincent Jesse’s quick flicking guitar playing on the 70s-sounding send-up “Knockin’ Em Down,” Phat Phunktion doesn’t let up. If I had any criticism, it would be that there aren’t any ballads here. A slow dance number or two might have been nice.

Things slow up (slightly) on “Rock Star,” with its floating horn bridge, snarky lyric and Tim Whalen’s synth lead. “Eyes Of Mine” with its back verse and chorus, gets you singing and the bass and drum duet that prompts the audience to sing along at the tune’s tail-end makes for a highlight. Watching the DVD, you see the members of Phat Phunktion standing close to one another on the High Noon stage. Your eyes mainly fall on Tim Whalen with his layered keyboard rig at center stage. Drummer Darvonte “Turbo” Murray is on the riser behind Whalen, smacking his snare in ways that keep the whole funky train moving along. Altogether, Live At The High Noon crackles with a style of high production and dance energy that Phat Phunktion is all about.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

 

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