Making James Brown Proud
The Third Coast Kings at Goodnite Gracie
by Chris Berggren
Published in November, 2010
The Third Coast Kings bill themselves as "a proper deep funk and soul outfit," and they have the horns to prove it. When I saw them in a swirling sea of green and red lights at the Savoy, they were missing trombonist Terry Kimura but still had a trumpet and a pair of saxophones, plus drums, a bass, and a guitar.
The show was really a two-part experience. The first features the Third Coast Kings laying down catchy instrumental funk--basically the funk version of a jam band. The second part features singer and quasi-member Sir Lord Sean Ike, strutting his stuff and belting out his silky, soul-driven vocals.
The band's instrumentals are built around a tight rhythm section that holds the groove and allows the brass section a platform from which to explore. Even guitarist Andy Filisko plays his six-string as if it were a rhythm instrument, strumming quick, repetitive chords that add a distinctive funk sound over James Keovongsak's drumming and Nate Ayers' thumping bass. The music is fast and makes you move, whether you want to or not, and the dance floor is quickly filled.
At the Savoy, trumpeter Ryan Dolan was flanked by saxophonists Alec Cooper and Brian Einstein Lassiter, the latter taking turns on both alto and baritone saxes. The horns alternated taking forays on their own and blending collectively, all the while stringing together a series of infectious hooks.
Still, it wasn't until Sean Ike joined the band on stage that things really got cooking. The Third Coast Kings and the singer fed off each other to devastating effect, and the energy in the venue, already high, notched higher. Ike barked out lyrics with a confidence and purpose that would've made James Brown proud, all the while sliding around the stage, shaking a tail feather, and inciting the dancers into a greater frenzy. Quickly working up a sweat, he lost his sports coat after the first song. Especially mem<><>rable were a great soul-tinged
version of Steely Dan's "Do it Again" and the obscure Caribbean funk band St. Vincent's Latinaires' "I'm Comin'," itself a reworking of James Brown's "Hot Pants."
The pace never wavered, the horns were a constant, the funky beats kept the audience moving, and this reviewer thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it. The Third Coast Kings are a fun, energetic band, even more so with Ike as their front man. Hopefully, that partnership will continue to grow and flourish, for the band is tight, and Ike's a terrific singer and true showman.
The Third Coast Kings are at Goodnite Gracie on Saturday, November 20.
[Originally published in November, 2010.]
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