Kung Fu

April 16, 2014

Gypsy Sally’s, Washington DC

written by Elise Olmstead

To most folk a Wednesday night is one of routine and rest, but for the music lover Wednesday night is another opportunity to see a great band.  Gypsy Sally’s in Washington DC has been hosting amazing music every day of the week, and Wednesday April 16th they brought Kung Fu and Second Self to help us get over the hump day.

After some small eats of hummus and three cheese pizza, the place is already filling in with enthusiastic fans.  You can hardly tell it’s a weekday at all and we are meeting new friends and running into old ones left and right.  The dance floor is abuzz with people waiting and tapping their feet, ready to explode into dance at any second.


Second Self

Second Self starts out their excited audience with what sounds like a soft, ambient jam, but then breaks into some heavy rock bass and drums, setting people into a head-banging frenzy.  The band’s improvisational progressive rock is undoubtedly led and punctuated by Jeff’s skillful drumming.  It definitely put a pep into everyone’s step and people were jiving like Mexican jumping beans on the floor. Yellow Dubmarine saxophonist Mario D’Ambrosio joins in to lend his soulful sound to the jam, then they end the set strong with another bouncy prog rock tune that reminds me of Umphrey’s McGee.

The members of Kung Fu are all so talented that there is never a boring moment during their set.  While you would think that their strong skill and styles would compete against each other, they instead come together in beautiful composition with enough intricacies to keep you constantly intrigued.  They start the set with the song “Gung Ho” which is indicative of their synth-y dance funk style.  They go on to play many songs off of their new album Tsar Bomba, like the soulful groove of “Hollywood Kisses” that makes you shake in the knees, or the more theatrical jazz odyssey “Rattlesnake” where keyboardist Todd Stoops harmonizes with saxophonist Rob Somerville.

Tim Palmieri

Tim Palmieri

After playing a cover of The Headhunters groovy song “God Made Me Funky,” the band breaks out another Tsar Bomba gem “Paragon.”  I get lost in the groove then notice a snappy little melody infecting my step, and I have to look up and ask “Who is killing it right now?”  Why it’s Stoops of course, slapping the keys with cat-like dexterity. It’s not long before guitarist Tim Palmieri steals the spotlight, though, as he shreds unbelievably fast and tight riffs.  After the song Rob cracks a beer and says “cheers” to the crowd, thanking them for coming out, and then goes on to steal the show and bring everyone to a screaming glee with his amazing saxophone skills. The energy never seems to subside and by the time they play their last song, the up-tempo “Chakrabarty,” we can’t believe it’s already over.  Fortunately, they appease the crowd with a two song encore that leaves us satisfied but also sends us home early enough to get to bed on time.

Their Wednesday show was just the start to a whopping consecutive 11 nights in a row of playing their funky music for adoring fans.  The high energy funky powerhouse just won’t quit and they’re bringing their tunes to a city near you.  They bring the party every day of the week and thank God for making them funky!!