Music should never be caged. It’s meant to be pure and raw—not masked, materialized, or adjusted for the public eye. And it sure as hell shouldn’t be bottled. It seems today, most bands tend to play it safe, by hiding away from who they truly are just to put on a show that will be critically acclaimed by the largest crowd.
Bubonik Funk (B-Funk) breaks this mold.
The wild soul/rock quartet hails from Charlotte, North Carolina and specializes in energetic funk and groove musicality. Drawing inspiration from a cluster of bands across the spectrum—from Funkadelic, to Zeppelin, to The Talking Heads—B-Funk invents captivating beats and riffs that evoke positive vibes.
They’ll invade The Whiskey on Saturday, February 8th, as part of their “Year of the Cod” (YOTC) Tour. YOTC is an expression representing what the band hopes for 2014.
“We all feel like this is a big year for us, in terms of growth and releasing new music and gaining new fans,” vocalist/keyboardist Dylan Ellet says.
Crowds can expect full-on riots. B-Funk cultivates a wild edge; their live performances are just as colorful and eccentric as the outfits they sport onstage. B-Funk is guilty of CEE—crowd energy equilibrium.
“You know, we feed off the energy and then it bounces back and forth from the crowd to the band like a ping-pong ball,” Ellet explains. “We like to treat every show like it’s a party. The fans and our band are all equals, being on a stage doesn’t go to our head, but [we] still have a personal duty to be crazier than the craziest person in the room.”
Created in 2006, B-Funk consists of Stefan Kallander (guitar/vocals), Dylan Ellett (keys/vocals), Nick McOwen (bass/synth) and Daniel Allison (drums/vocals)—a lineup which has been constant for eight years now. Consistency is key.
Along with their unparalleled sound, the band stresses independent management and production. Each member loves to have full control of his creative process, as well as maintain an effervescent stage performance. With this authenticity, a rarity in the music industry today, it didn’t take very long for the guys to gain popularity.
Less than a year after forming, they played shows in and around the Queen City. They conquered multiple venues such as the Tremont Music Hall, Neighborhood Theatre and the Evening Muse. Since , B-Funk has crafted quite the following, selling out shows in multiple North Carolina markets and full-length tours, sweeping down the entire East Coast—much like the notorious plague they used as a brand.
In their blooming career, B-Funk has released three EPs in the past four years: “OTB,” “Wink at the Devil,” and “Zabooki.” This April they will release their first full-length studio-recorded album.
“Over the last few weeks, we have been in Charlotte, putting our new record together,” Ellet says. “It’s the first time we’ve been in an actual studio with our own engineer, who also is acting like a secondary producer to us.” The first single from the album will be released through Bandcamp.com later in the week.
But B-Funk doesn’t just bust out spontaneous licks and jams; their songs hold a deeper meaning between the lines. “Organized Crime” displays the epitome of united musicality—a wonderful escalation up the fret board. It also tells a valuable lesson through the story of a man who marries a stunningly gorgeous woman, only to find out she’s a seductive bank-robbing criminal mastermind.
“Living To Die” expresses Ellet’s own commentary on the state of the world and people’s attitudes. “In this land, opportunity-stricken, most just sit around, and keep on bitchin’.” It’s a message to our generation—increasingly reluctant to work hard and earn what they get. “It’s not a political message,” Ellet clarifies. “It’s entirely personal and about understanding self-worth, using all of these amazing resources we have at our fingertips.”
Ellet confirms B-Funk’s live shows will rework some classics for long-time fans, while also throwing in some bolts and screws to keep the tunes fresh and fun to play. The set-list varies every night, so fans will never know what to expect. Aalthough it’s hard for them to pick favorites, their new material excites them. These guys tend to break loose from the chains when they play live—quicker tempos and less bottled passion. “TV on My Head” compels as a bizarre anthem of sorts with a hungry chorus that yearns the crowd to chant along.
This won’t be the first time B-Funk has taken over The Whiskey. Wilmington remains a special place for the band. Their first ever sold out show was in Wilmington—it’s not even their hometown. The band salivates over the smaller venues, especially one swarming with fans.
“While big stages are always nice, because they offer more room to jump around; there is more space to fill with stage antics,” Ellet elaborates. “Smaller rooms that get packed with bodies are fun though, too, because people get to know each other a little better. When it’s packed, the crowd is just a big grinding blob of limbs and faces. It’s a monster we have dreams about. Good dreams.”
On Saturday, February 8th, these dreams will come true.DETAILS:
The Whiskey • 1 S. Front St.
Sat., February 8th, 9 p.m.