October 5, 2009

Live Review: Goosepimp Orchestra, Danny Bedrosian & Secret Army

Goosepimp Orchestra

The Brewery // Lowell, MA // Sept. 9, 2009

It’s a warm Thursday night in Lowell, Mass. A bar close to the UMASS campus called The Brewery lights up the street faintly and people dot the sidewalk with their cigarettes. Tonight, Boston’s Goosepimp Orchestra is opening up for Danny Bedrosian & Secret Army, a band of George Clinton misfits led by P-Funk keyboardist Danny Bedrosian.

The stage is open and low to the ground, an inviting nod toward the expansive dance floor and seating area that extends into the back of the bar.

Goosepimp had just started their set as I walked in, and a heavy layer of funk had already descended upon the audience. Maybe it was their appearance – from tagged up jumpsuits, to skunk hats, to neon skirts, tie-dye and pajama pants – GPO was in rare form as they drowned the audience in rainbow lights and chaotically designed funk-downs.

Goosepimp Orchestra

Goosepimp’s full lineup included Dave Pelletier on bass, Adam Pelletier on guitar, Bob Greel on percussion, Phil Reese on keys, Joe Calabrese on drums, Jon Albertelly on trumpet, Josh Filgate on trombone, Seth Bailin on saxophone and Mike Cantor leading the gang on guitar.

Everyone was full of energy tonight, and Goosepimp utilized every ounce of it. In sweat-drenched unison they were forthright with their solos, and remained tight and loud throughout their set. In a smashup of garb and styles, GPO combined psychedelic guitar riffs with a synthetic funk that seems to get better every time I see them play. In so many words, this band has unbeatable confidence in their stage presence and a unique “get up and freak out” style that promotes one hell of a good time.

Danny Bedrosian & Secret Army

When Danny Bedrosian & Secret Army went on, I realized that tonight’s theme had to be a certain psycha-funk virtuosity. There was something so incredibly sexy about the reserve in bass player Lige Curry, the gyrations of Danny Bedrosian, and the popping knees and bopping bums of backup vocalists Teresa Jimenez and Kendra Foster.

They had the heavy and tight demeanor evident in most funk or rock music, but successfully combined elements of jazz-fusion, hip-hop and soul with surprising eloquence. From drawn out harmonic vocals, to the electric excursions of guitarist Marc Munoz (during which he split open his finger on stage and continued to play with unrelenting force), there was an unquestionable amount of energy. At times I found it hard to breath without wailing, which goes to show that the driving force behind this band’s groove is the power and precision that they bring to the stage. They translate passion beautifully.

It’s always special, albeit cliché, when you feel as if you’re having a religious experience during a live set and you haven’t taken any drugs. As they played – all closed eyes, open mouthed and tiptoed slithering and grooving – I thought the band would cause the entire bar to lift up and out of Lowell, just to plop down in George Clinton’s backyard (whatever that might look like!). Each member seems like a methodological extension of the music, bound together hot and heavy in a sensual land of soul and funk.

Both Goosepimp Orchestra and Danny Bedrosian & Secret Army have new CD’s out. I urge you to take a listen or catch a local show. You won’t regret it.

-Words by Amanda Macchia; photos by Lisa Gagne


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