Earphunk and Zoogma Bring the Funk to Brooklyn Bowl [Review]
Last week, funky-fresh bands Earphunk and Zoogma joined forces as their “What the Phunk is Zoogma” tour landed them at Brooklyn Bowl for a mid-week night of liberating jams and carefree groovin’. Though the venue was not filled to capacity, both performances succeeded in providing jazzy entertainment with original energy that was immediately noticed by the crowd. The show transformed the rustic music venue/bowling alley into a comfortably sized dance party – ideal for a local Wednesday evening getaway of which I was lucky to attend.
Earphunk was first to perform that night and ultimately succeeded in setting the southern-funk vibe as soon as they approached the stage. Each band member sported a mixed attire of leather jackets, denim jeans, and leather cowboy boots along with their instruments being accompanied by a beer or two. Their appearance directly reflected the rich culture of jazzy New Orleans and showed off the groovy roots of which they proudly originate. The constant ear-to-ear smiles of each band member throughout the set truly displayed how passionate and happy they were to be jamming the funk out.
The band members quickly took the microphone after the opening song and ordered the crowd to “have a few drinks and move ya feet”, giving an immediate cue for the stage to come alive in music and neon lights. The set was a nice balance of steady jamming back and forth, from psychedelic melodies to faster beat funk music.
As the band continued to groove, my favorite part of the night took place as 12-year-old Brandon Niederauer (aka “TAZ”) took the stage and stole the show along with the hearts of those in the crowd. As he jammed out on guitar with the rest of the band for a few songs, it was obvious that this kid is a prodigy.
TAZ was a miniature Jimi Hendrix whose expertise on the electric guitar (an instrument that was half the size of his entire body) paired effortlessly with his curly brown hair and jazzy outfit. The night was put on hold during his performance, as attendees flooded the front of the stage to get a better glance and maybe brainstorm ways to legally adopt this little dude. Simply put, mine and everyone else’s mind was blown.
Earphunk closed out with their classic hit “Sweet Nasty” and the crowd sang along, leaving a playful energy in the room for the upcoming heavier-hitting beats of Zoogma.
Opening with a mix of smooth-sounding guitar riffs and gliding into a fresh drop, Zoogma soon appeared and was sure to maintain the funk-vibe still lingering from Earphunk. Slightly more electronic with hints of hip-hop vocals, Zoogma weaved in and out of different sound variations with ease. By slightly changing the atmosphere from Earphunk’s performance, Zoogma transformed the show into a heavier dance party, which had the crowd moving noticeably more than Earphunk’s previous set. The overall sound of Zoogma was extremely original – a nearly perfect mixture of soulful melodies and pulsing electro-rock.
Eventually, the band completely changed the sound of their last two songs into a rock-infused dubstep frenzy that left most crowd members head banging as they walked off stage in completion. Soon after, both Earphunk and Zoogma reappeared and the two bands collaborated their different sounds into an encore jam that fully encompassed the different characteristics of each. The sounds blended together perfectly, as Earphunk’s lead guitarist and vocalist, Mark Heppe, performed some hip-hop verses that were backed up by the talented sounds of both bands.
Overall, the show was a wonderful experience for a small crowd looking to get groovy in an open space. Between the smooth sounds of Earphunk and heavier-hitting electronic rock beats of Zoogma, the concert was a perfect combination of soulful-funk meets electro-rock.