When COVID-19 was at its height, live music was the thing I missed maybe the most. Music, in my belief, has a special way of bringing us all together–whether it’s dancing, congregating at concerts, or just the act of sharing favorite tunes in the car or in living rooms. When live music as we knew it temporarily shut down, I found myself longing for the environments of concert halls and music venues. Listening to online performances kept spirits up, but when I got the chance to walk into the Blind Pig again this weekend, to feel the bass and drums reverberate in my body, something came alive in me again.
Even if you’re not a self-proclaimed fan of funk music, I believe there’s something for everyone to enjoy in the infectious drum beats and groovy bass lines. As my friend who attended with me admitted, “funk is sexy, in a fun way.” Music that invites your body to move, invites you to cheer. Music that commands your attention. Mixed with the transportational qualities of a nighttime neon-lit music club, I truly felt like I was elsewhere, in the space that the music created for us.
This night of funk music opened with Midnight Mercedes, a small Michigan funk band with killer vocals and a tenor saxophonist with an eye-catching light-up neck strap. The vocalist, draped in a rainbow giraffe-print dress, sang with soul and smiles, sending chills down my spine with her strong sustained notes.
Next, we heard from Funkwagon, a gospel-infused funk band based in Detroit, MI and Burlington, VT. Lead keys giving equal energy to his vocals, splitting into ear-pleasing harmonies with the other instrumentalists. More often than not, I found myself smiling at the pure life radiating from the music on stage.
At that point, it was getting late for me, but I stayed for one of my favorite Ypsilanti-based groups, the incredible Sabbatical Bob. Describing themselves as “high-energy funk,” I was glad to hear them play after a year of witnessing their performances through a screen. While it was still great to hear them perform at events like Dance for Democracy, there is something irreplaceable about being there, about being able to feel the sound of the trumpet and sax, tearing up tunes while the audience around you bops along.
It was an incredibly fun night out, and I encourage everyone to go out and support your local music venues and musicians. It’s been a tough year and a half for all of us, and we can all benefit from the arts. Get out there and get your groove on!