As a woman in my mid-thirties I’ve done what I can to explore various genres of music and various bands within each genre. How I managed to let funk powerhouse Vulfpeck slip past me is a complete enigma. The four-piece came prepared with their best grooves, along with a cast of supremely talented musicians, and here’s my experience during night 2 of their 3-night residency.
Beginning the night, Los Angeles based singer/songwriter Joey Dosik took to the Rhodes nestled near the edge of the stage, opened his mouth and crooned out some of the smoothest, most buttery vocals I’ve heard in ages. Running through selections from his EP, Game Winner, Joey’s voice carried through the space with ease. Those who intended to come to enjoy a night quickly left their game behind and focused on the stage. Dosik’s ear pleasing set the tone for an incredible night of soulful music ahead.
After a few moments, Dosik trotted back out onstage along with Vulfpeck to lend his talents to an impromptu sax solo. From this point on, it just got better and better. Aside from the 4 Vulfpeck members, Cory Wong joined them on guitar, along with percussionist Richie Rodriguez. From “Barbara,” to “My First Car,” the crowd was more than willing to dance and sing along with whatever lyrics they felt fit the music. By then, the drinks were flowing and everyone was in the best of moods. Not surprisingly, when legendary drummer Bernard “Pretty” Purdie joined the band to lay down some grooves on drums, the crowd went completely nuts, with shouts of “PURDIE!” raining down from the rafters. Purdie, wearing a shirt with his own photo on it, I might add, made his work look completely effortless. The Vulf guys’ reactions to his drumming were worth the price of admission alone. To say they are lifelong fans of their work would be an understatement.
Dosik found his way back onstage again to play his tune “Game Winner,” before Purdie showed us how to “Purdie Shuffle,” earning healthy laughs from everyone in the room. Rachael Price, from the band Lake Street Dive, soon joined the ever-growing guest list onstage to lend her vocals to a cover of The Beatles’ “Something,” and an undeniably groovy rendition of Aretha Franklin’s staple “Rocksteady.”
Just when I thought this night couldn’t get any better… Antwaun Gardner found his way onstage as well. If Vulfpeck is the loaf of bread, then Antwaun was the butter and the jelly. This man’s vocals fit so perfectly with the band’s sound, I am not sure why he isn’t a full time member of Vulfpeck. Nevertheless, launching into “1612,” got everyone dancing around the room again. I saw an empty beer cup land onstage – most likely the male equivalent to a pair of underwear. No one wanted the night to end even though it was nearing midnight. But the band soldiered on, with Theo Katzman bringing smiles to everyone’s facing declaring it Christmas for the sole purposed to playing “Christmas in L.A.” to everyone’s delight. Normally people hate Christmas songs but this was oddly perfect.
Their set ended with the crowd getting some singing assignments as we settled into “Back Pocket,” with an even catchier chorus than the aforementioned “1612.”
Whether you’re a long time Vulfpeck, or just finding out about them, like me, consider yourself lucky to have stumbled onto one of the great musical treasures out there. Coupled with their undeniably quirky and hilarious music videos, Vulfpeck is absolutely the gift that keeps giving and giving and giving.
Article: Lesley Keller