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Published: 2016/12/16
by Andy J. Gordon

Particle and Kung Fu at The Mint

Tim Palmieri and Rob Somerville with Kung Fu at The Mint

Modern funk and Jamtronica lovers filled The Mint on December 9, as Kung Fu brought their version of modern funk with influences from psychedelic, fusion and progressive rock, followed by Particle, the Los Angeles-based electronica jamband. The very enthusiastic audience danced, bounced and swayed to the funky beats into the early morning at the popular club on Pico Boulevard.

Kung Fu hails from Connecticut and the quintet has formidable musical chops. Tim Palmieri on guitar and vocals and Adrian Tramontano on drums were founding members of The Breakfast, known for progressive and jazz influenced rock. Other members of Kung Fu include Chris DeAngelis, playing bass guitar and vocals, who joined The Breakfast in 2008; Rob Somerville on tenor sax and vocals (from the jazz-funk band Deep Banana Blackout); and Beau Sasser on keyboards (Alan Evans Trio and his power funk group Escape Plan).

The band played an intense, funky set that opened with “Bringin’ Up the Rear,” a song that Somerville brought from Deep Banana Blackout. The funky dance party started there and kept on groovin’ throughout their set. Kung Fu played excellent versions of “Hollywood Kisses” from their 2014 album “Tsar Bomba” as well as “Daddy D,” “Chin Music” and the trippy “Samarai” from 2016’s “Joyride” album.

Somerville’s tenor sax howled while Palmieri was in his guitar-god glory with gymnastic tumbles along the fretboard. Sasser tickled the keys for some tasty, funk based riffs. Kung Fu closed the show with a sit-in by EDM guitar wizard Marcus Rezak. First, Tramontano got some well-earned love for a thunderous drum solo that led into “Scrab.” Then Palmieri and Rezak took turns playing rapid-fire solos before the set ended with a monster jam session.

Particle kept the diehard, late-night crowd entranced with their fusion of prog rock, funk, house and trance music. The focus was on the technical wizardry of keyboardist Steve Molitz and the guitar magic from Mike Daum. As the late night turned into morning, the songs seem to meld together, but the faithful audience continued to sway to the hypnotic beats. A sit-in by Beau Sasser, who joined Molitz on keys near the end of the set, put an exclamation point on the trippy night of music.

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