The folks behind Los Angeles’ long-running dance party Funky Sole want your feet to ache at the end of the weekend. Have your hangover cures ready and clear your Sunday schedule to prepare for the first-ever Funky Sole Weekender – a two day celebration of the best in Southern California funk and soul music.
“Around 10 years ago, I started thinking that there’s more funk and soul bands around the world and in Los Angeles, and it would be great to kind of bring it together,” said Miles “Music Man” Tackett, the Funky Sole head DJ who organized the Weekender along with Spaceland Presents. “There’s funk festivals in L.A. which are like ‘70s and ‘80s, but no one with the sounds that we spin at Funky Sole. Everything from new to vintage funk and soul-related things, and legendary artists.”
The Weekender will be held at The Echoplex on Thursday, Aug. 23 and Friday, Aug 24, and feature legendary soul singer Lee Fields headlining on Thursday night. Currently touring with his band, The Expressions, Fields has performed with Kool and the Gang, O.V Wright, Darrell Banks, and the late Sharon Jones. The weekend’s lineup of local heavy hitters begins with Fields, West Coast Latin soul 12 piece the Boogaloo Assassins and local legends Breakestra.
Joining Breakestra is renowned funky drummer and session musician James Gadson, who played with the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, Bill Withers, The Temptations, BB King and many others. “He’s one of the hardest working, most recorded funk drummers,” Tackett said, adding that Gadson will also sing with Breakestra.
“Every single group on that thing is rooted in kind of the golden age of American soul music,” said Boogaloo Assassins pianist William Purdy. “Every single one of these groups has a connection to ‘60s and ‘70s funk and soul.”
Fresh from gigs at Levitt Pavillion, L.A. Taco Festival and Northern California’s San Jose Jazz Fest, and the Boogaloo Assassins will show off their unique brand of West Coast Latin soul, and likely a new salsa tune along with a cover of Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings’ “Tell Me.”
“We’re stoked, we love Lee Fields and Breakestra,” Purdy said, adding that the band opened for Fields at The Echoplex a few years ago. “We’re kind of part of The Funky Sole and Root Down family, both personal friends with those guys and played their events for the years.”
Bay Area psychedelic soul sextet Monophonics, Latin funk 10 piece Jungle Fire and The White Blinds will heat up the Weekender’s Friday show. That night will also feature the second-ever performance of Los Yesterdays, a new sweet soul/lowrider oldies project from Daptone Records’ founder Gabe Roth and Tom Brenneck.
In addition to two nights of bands, Funky Sole resident DJs Miles, Hector, Adam, Octavio and Mixmaster Wolf will keep things moving between and after acts. They’ll be joined by “extended family” including Todd Simon, Dan Ubick, DJ Personify and Greg Belson. Tackett hopes to keep the party going after the bands are off stage and straight into Funky Sole’s regular Saturday night dance.
Unlike a traditional northern soul weekender – during which fans of obscure soul records danced until daylight while bands and DJs played — the Funky Sole Weekender begins early and will end well before breakfast. Tackett said this inaugural weekender is likely the first of many.