I WAS THERE . . . Menahan Street Band @ Southpaw 10.17.08
The Menahan Street Band Get the Crowd Moving. All photos by Kevchino
Tonight Southpaw played host to Daptone Records own Menahan Street band with The Phenominal Hanclap Band opening and playing their third show together. Dressing in white with 11 musicians on stage most of the time, The Phenominal Handclap Band also brought out a horn section for a few songs, looking more like a cult then a band. But when they started playing, I think most people in the audience were as blown away as I was. Blending disco, chanting, electro, droning, and Afrobeat just to name a few, the band had at least four different singers and their myspace page names off 28 musicians including Aurellio Valle of Calla and Jon Spencer as having some sort of involvement though it looks like Daniel Collás and Sean Marquand are the ringleaders here.
The brainchild of Dap Kings, Budos, and Menahan guitarist Tommy Brenneck, Menahan Street Band feature several key members of the Dap Kings. Daptone Records, a label made up of a collective of artists and bands (Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Naomi Shelton & The Gospel Queens, and Budos Band) who are known for working together and creating some of the most authentic 1960s raw soul and funk around, spared no expensive in creating one amazing show. A no-vocalist act, labelmate Charles Bradley came up on stage at one point to provide some vocals on two songs, with one being the amazing “The World (Is Going up in Flames).” Dressed in a white suit, the man sung his heart out making the crowd whoop and holler. As a group, Menahan Street Band are like the James Brown soul review back in the 60s mixed with Ethiopian jazz musician Mulatu Astatke, playing very precise parts without the cheese. As a label, Daptone consistently puts out raw and gritty soul and funk making anything they touch sound top notch, and the Menahan Band, playing songs off their new album “Make the Road by Walking” got everyone moving, making their tour something to look forward to.