Review: Family Funktion & Sitar Jams

... I walk into the Abilene Bar, a two story house located in Downtown Rochester. The enviroment is quaint yet boasts a classy/casual/relaxed/at home kind of vibe. I find a table off to the side, within' plain view of a setup reminisant of a basement band. The drum kit, tucked off into the corner, was decorated with yellow prayer flags. Immediately to the left; was a rug, with a pillow, effects pedals and a mini synthesizer. To the left of that; the bass set-up with additional effect pedals and amps. I introduce myself to the three gentleman who, at the time were setting up/checking the sound. The Soundcheck abruptly comes to an end as the three wander off in their own direction. One of the gentleman, the sitar player introduces himself to me as Naryan, and follows up with several questions about my being there. After expressing my enjoyment of the band, my one and only time seeing them, my opinions of their music and building a fan base; Naryan seemed very comfortable and receptive. In the background, his brother; Aneal (bass) was shooting pool, while the oldest of the three brothers; Ravi, sits down to join our conversation.

The conversation switches between; touring, building a fanbase, the struggle to book gigs (and get paid for them), taping and distributing music and their new cd, soon to be released. There is a certain excitement and sense of pride that was easily detected when discussing the new cd. Naryan speaks very candidly about how they were pleased with their first recording. Quickly followed up with how much better the current session is going. "We're recording at the Goo Goo Dolls studio." (In Buffalo, NY) "The sound is so much better... and the engineers are really knowledgable." stated Naryan humbley yet confident. Ravi chiming in every once in a while with a overlooked detail. The topic then switches gears to who they listen to musically. Naryan immediately pays homage to Phish, with a huge smile on his face, as most Phish Phans do when describing the band. "I love Phish... I wish I was going to Phish Phest..." Later eluding to being jelous of his friends who will be in attendance.

Another round of beers brings discussion of beer itself. Naryan expresses his enjoyment of drinking good beer, and I quickly agree. He offers a taste of his IPA to his brother, then offereing me a taste. We all agree on it's delightful flavor. Soon after, the merch is set out on the table around which we've been having our discussion. Aneal comes over and joins, as we discuss Medeski, Martin & Wood, The Westcott theatre, and Ravi's desire to play a gig with Soulive. Within' minutes some of their fans start to show up. A cat by the name of Nick turned out to tape the show and another gentleman (who's name escapes me) is obviously a big fan; laying out a few requests and looking as excited as Naryan did when describing Phish.

Family Function & Sitar Jams takes the stage, Naryan exclaiming to me that they feel chill and are going to take it easy tonight. The Three brothers from Buffalo with the sole intent to bring the jams; begin with a very spacey progression reminding me a lot of MMW. They ease into a jam, drop the beats, and the baseline insues. Almost immediately Naryan is reaching down and utilizing the effects of his sythesiser, while Aneal and Ravi create a funk/dance kind of groove. The first set was extremely high energy with a lot of effects and expiramentation.

The second set involved more straight forward sitar, with a darker twist. Additionally a mic was plugged in so we were able to get a few details about some of the songs and a plethera of feedback. The jams were extensive, some lasting what I would estimate at Ten Minutes Plus. The drums were heavy yet calculated. The bass was funky yet spacey, and the sitar playing; innovative and destructive.

Rating 4.5 out of 5

Here is a copy of their first cd: Family Funktion & Sitar Jams

"Family Funktion is a band who's groove is only surpassed by their innovation. They have a way of taking you to outerspace and leaving you on the moon with a discoball."



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