Kung Fu Groovin & Brownstein, Dietch, Magner Movin

I tried my hardest all day to get a press pass to Countdown to 2012 at the Canal Room. I really wanted to see BMD JAM SESSION featuring Marc Brownstein and Aron Magner of The Disco Biscuits with Adam Deitch of Break Science & Lettuce. The only other act I knew on the bill was Kung Fu. I had seen and listened to them from a distance at Gathering of the Vibes, but that was about all I knew of them. All afternoon I sent emails and tried to make it happen. Finally, at about 11 at night, I got an email with a rather frantic tone to it. Apparently Diana the press agent from Kung Fu had been trying to reach me on my phone for some time. At first I thought it was the shitty service my phone gets (in Brooklyn, of all places). But no, I entered my own phone number incorrectly on my email signature. Thankfully, I got that email and rushed home to get my camera and was off to the Canal Room, to the dismay of people that I had made plans with earlier that night, thinking the press pass was not coming through. So again, sorry about that.

When I finally got there, I could not wait to see some live music. Being a law student during finals, I’m lucky if I make it 4 blocks away from the library– forget across the river into Manhattan. I met Diana and she could not have been nicer. When I got there, Kung Fu had just started, so I got to work taking some pictures. You know, to make sure all of the work I did getting the pass was worth my trouble. Kung Fu, I have to say, blew me away. I remember them being pretty good at Vibes but I was a bit of a distance away, so I guess their sound was kinda muddled. But at the Canal Room it certainly was not. The whole event was a charity concert for the National Brain Tumor Society in memory of Terence McKenna. This, combined with the kinda pricey tickets for acts like this, meant it was not crowded.  In fact, it was more like a private concert for me and 60 others.

So Kung Fu. They were unbelievable. Rock infused funk with jazzy hooks and heart-thumping rhythm– these guys really know how to swing.   Rocking the house would be an understatement. I really was shocked by how good they were and how I had not given them a closer listen before that night. Every low was as low as you could go and every high was as unrelenting as a sandstorm in the Sahara. Why hadn’t anyone pressed me on how good they were before this? When someone would bring them up previously, I would say, “Oh yeah, I’ve seen them.  They are good.” But no, they are not good.  If you took all of the jamtastic parts of Phish and infused them with the speed of the Biscuits and threw in a splash of classic jazz, you’d only be half way there to describing what Kung Fu really is.

Once Kung Fu got off the stage, I finally noticed the emptiness of a room at less than half capacity. The DJ SYNCHRO went on next, and I have to say I enjoyed it. Fast-paced electro house remixes of well-known songs made me feel like I was back living in Holland. While the whole room turned into a club for an hour, I got to know Diana a bit better and met a scene photographer, Nick.  Funny thing is, I saw Nick again the next night at DrFameus and BangBang at Sullivan hall. It seemed overly coincidental to me, mainly because Todd Stoops plays keys for both BangBang and Kung Fu. I’d like to say he wrecked it even harder playing with Scott Zwang in BangBang, but that review is coming soon.

Finally, BMD Jam Session went on. Adam Deitch is a beast, that’s well known and established and is probably all that needs to be said. I’ve seen him play a couple times and every time, he has brought the heat. That night was no exception. Marc Brownstein and Aron Magner– now, what can I say about them?  They make sounds that I like. That’s probably why the Disco Biscuits are my favorite band. Their performance– well, it’s hard to tell; they played some Bisco songs that right off the bat made me happy. Mainly because I have been deprived of seeing them for so long, to hear some live Bisco was great. But mostly I was just happy to see they were having fun. I don’t think I have ever seen Magner jump up and down as much as he did. He even had his tongue out doing like a Gene Simmons-type thing for a bit. I only wish any of the pictures I took of this had come out well enough for me to show you. [There is a blurry version in the gallery below] Brownstein, too, was moving around on stage and having a great time. It’s great for me to see my favorite musicians playing music and having fun, especially when there are so many things in Biscoland worth feeling down about.

In the end, I had and awesome night. I made some new friends, realized I liked a band a lot more than I knew, and got some “hope”– pun intended– for the future. Oh, and if I wasn’t clear before, Kung Fu killed it.


Greg Sarafan

Greg Sarafan founded Greg Sarafan’s Sensible Reason in 2007. He started blogging for HeadCount in January 2011. Soon after he organized and ran a small but successful charity festival called Binghamtronica to benefit HeadCount and OxFam America. He is a Team Leader in NYC as well as Artist Relations representative for HeadCount. Greg has BAs in political science and art history from Binghamton University. Greg has a J.D. as well as a Certificate in Intelectual Property, Media and Privacy from Brooklyn Law School . Greg also volunteers for OxFam America as a Concert Outreach Coordinator. In 2009 Greg presented his theory of Artistic Stylistic Transmission in the Royal Mughal Atelier at an art history symposium at Ohio State University.

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