Funk rockers The Fritz call Asheville, North Carolina home ,and the artistic spirit of that city is very evident in the music they make. While Jamar Woods fronts the band with his vocals and keys he has plenty of help from a tight rhythm section and monster bass lines laid down by Jake O’ Connor. Check out the heart and soul they bring to the stage in the clip below. The two day event saw Voodoo Visionary taking double duty. With sets on Friday and Saturday, fans got a chance to really check out the Atlanta based jam-funk artists, and the band was eager to show what they could do. Guitarist Mike Wilson showed impressive chops while drummer Mac Schmitz handled the varying styles being juggled with deceptive ease. Watch them win some new fans with this tune from their Friday set: To close out the first night of Funk Fest Punta Gorda, Denver’s The Motet were brought in to show Southern funk lovers how things are down out west. Human spark plug Lyle Divinsky pinwheeled around the stage pumping up the energy. Garrett Sayers and Dave Watts demonstrated the proper procedures for getting the funk down and dirty. Guitarist Ryan Jalbert wound his crisp lines in and out of the rhythm and the horn bursts like a daredevil riding through a musical minefield.The crowd reaction to The Motet’s day ending jams showed full well just how stellar Colorado’s funk band of choice can be when the stage is cleared for them. Check out some of their fiery fun below.Saturday’s Funk Fest Punta Gorda line up started off with New Orleans sons Naughty Professor, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad and a second helping of Voodoo Visionary before getting a bit rockier in the early afternoon. Beloved Dave Matthews sideman Tim Reynolds stepped up to the plate on the main stage, and knocked it out of the park. Reynolds only has one setting; full speed ahead.With his partners Mick Vaughn on bass and Dan Martier behind the drum kit, Reynolds delivered song after song of tight, aggressive funk-tinged rock that got the crowd on their feet and cheering. Check out their rendition of the Booker T & The MGs classic “Hip Hug-Her” below. Florida’s Funk Fest Punta Gorda was the perfect place to get the festival season off to as early a start as possible. Promoters mixed national acts like Dumpstaphunk, The Motet, Tim Reynolds and perennial festival faves Here Come The Mummies with regional talent like The Fritz, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Voodoo Visionary and more to give music fans plenty of reasons to shake their booties. With daytime temperatures in the 80’s, music fans and bands were able to enjoy some hot tunes and fun in the sun.Funk Fest was born out of civic pride. When organizers first conceived of the idea of hosting a fest, the thought was born out of love for Punta Gorda and the beaches, boating and fun on the Gasparilla Sound Harbor. With picturesque sunsets and a laid back Florida vibe, the town is rich in both style and charity, both strongly represented at Funk Fest 8.Organizers converted an empty city block into a two stage festival grounds, surrounded by palm trees, the harbor, and the beautiful downtown waterfront district. As soon as the gates opened, the fans streamed in to find food trucks, art for sale, and funk to fill their hearts and move their feet. If you are looking to throw a funk festival and you need bands then the first place you should look is America’s funkiest city, New Orleans. Joining a few of their fellow Crescent City friends on the Punta Gorda stages was Big Sam himself, alongside his band the Funky Nation. Seizo Shibayama practically set his fret board on fire with his high speed guitar strumming and Drew “Da Phessah” Baham provided plenty of direct support to the man out front, Big Sam. Check out Sam’s dance moves and trombone mastery on the raging clip below.Ever since Here Come The Mummies blew the crowd away at Funk Fest 2, they have been party mainstays, and it was clear that the fans were hyped to see their return engagement. The crowds packed in as close as possible to catch a glimpse of the mystery shrouded funk band from beyond the grave. Mixing grind house horror with genuinely catchy funk tunes is an inspired move and the musicians behind the make up lean into the act with all they have.At a Mummies show, choreographed dance moves and t-shirt cannons share time with uptempo tunes and comical lyrics. Here Come The Mummies embrace the theatrical fringes often explored by bands like P-Funk and KISS to a truly crowd pleasing, though less provocative, end. Watch their antics as they entertain and try to enlighten the crowd in the 12 minute clip below.After the second helping of The Motet on the Funk stage it was time to close out the big stage in style with the last big New Orleans heavyweight band of the day, Dumpstaphunk. Ivan Neville tickled the ivories next to his nephew Ian on guitar, the triple threat Tony Hall on guitar, bass and vocals, Alvin Ford Jr. on drums, and the incomparable Nick Daniels III on bass alone are enough to lay any party to waste on a given night.Luckily for the Punta Gorda crowd Dumpstaphunk was in the mood to kick things up a notch, and brought out the Naughty Professor Horns to help bring the fest home right. Mixing songs like their most recent single “Justice” with Dumpsta classics and even a cover or two, Dumpstaphunk proved to be the perfect choice for closing out the days music.With the perky horn accents sharpening the highs and Daniels providing insanely deep lows Dumpstaphunk had the most musically wide open set of the weekend. and the crowd seemed shell shocked by the funk bombs that had been dropped.Check out the funky take on Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” that Dumpstaphunk and their guests delivered to the lucky Funk Fest fans below:Dumpstaphunk (with the Naughty Professor horns)When the lights came on to help folks find their way either home or to the special Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad late night set, the shell shocked expressions quickly turned to smiles. Fans wandered in all directions, some exiting to the many bars and restaurants that surrounded the downtown venue, while some just relaxed and watched the waves lap on the shore in the moonlight. It is hard to image a more beautiful metropolitan backdrop than Punta Gorda, and it is easy to see why so many fans who come for the first time become fans for life.For fans of the Florida funk, don’t miss Lettuce and Joe Russo’s Almost Dead at the upcoming Fool’s Pardise in St. Augustine, FL on March 31 & April 1. They’ll be playing alongside The Motet, The Floozies, The Main Squeeze, Organ Freeman, and Oteil Burbridge & Antwaun Stanley as artists-at-large. Find out more information here.
Black Stars Captain Asamoah Gyan remains focused on performing for Ghana at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations despite the recent misfortune that hit his family.The Al-Ain striker arrived on Friday morning in Accra together with his senior brothers Baffour and Opoku to mourn with the rest of the family on the passing of their mother Madam Cecilia Love Amoako at the Ridge Hospital on Tuesday.Gyan who was in a sober mood said he had accepted the demise of his mother as part of life even though it was tough to accept.“It is a big shock as everybody knows but in life you need to experience bitterness not always expecting happiness. When I heard the news it was strange to me and a shock. But as a footballer you dont go on to the pitch with your emotions and will concentrate on my career and even scored two goals in yesterday for my club which tells you how strong I am. I am close to my mum and was coming to celebrate her birth today but am focused to deliver in AFCON 2013”. He told JOY SportsGyan’s mother would have turned 61 today. The strike has been excused from Tuesday’s international friendly against Cape Verde in Lisbon, Portugal.