Kung Fu w/ Smooth Money Gesture 2.1.12

Hodi's Halfnote
Fort Collins, CO

Words & Photos By Nicholas Stock

Making it out on a Wednesday night takes something special. Word of mouth about Kung Fu has been spreading like a hepatitis outbreak on a Phish Lot. I had been hearing from many of my friends that they were most definitely a show to catch. So when they were rounding out their run through Colorado with a night at Hodi’s, I knew I had to make it down. I got there early and had a chat with Tim Palmieri and Rob Somerville for episode five of the MusicMarauders Live Podcast, which will be out coinciding with this article. After the interview I jumped right into catching Nederland native band, Smooth Money Gesture.

Set One: Gringo> About Time, Shank You, Medicated Goo, Time & Trance Formation, Take A Chance, Shape I’m In> Easy Street> Kenzie, Do What You Got To Do

Download their debut album at www.smoothmoneygesture.com.

Smooth Money Gesture began playing to an almost empty room, but that didn’t stop them from bringing the heat. They were a bouncy, fun jam band that incorporated an element of homage to the Dead. They were quintessential jam incorporating elements of funk, rock, electronica and bluegrass. They passed around vocals like a collection plate at a church with each member taking a turn. Pete Goldberg on keys showed a distinct wisdom that elevated this band into something more. I truly enjoyed catching them opening for Kung Fu after hearing so much about them in recent months. If you are looking for a good time and a Front Range band that brings the whole package. Check out Smooth Money Gesture.

Kung Fu is a band that is hard to quantify. Calling themselves Jazztronic, I would more accurately call them Death Lounge. The have an abrasively funky edge with a generous sprinkling of jazz, rock, and electronica. Hailing from Connecticut, they have been touring full time returning to Colorado after their recent run out here. I missed their opening slot for The Motet, which is why I most definitely had to make it down to their Hodi’s show. They opened with Jeff Beck’s "You Know What I Mean" before releasing the funky Kraken on us all night.

Set One: You Know What I Mean, The Hammer, S’all Good, Rocks, Drop Dead Legs, Killcullen, Scapegoat Blues, Stratus, Paragon, Premium, Gung Ho

Encore: Chakrabarty Overdrive

It was primarily an instrumental show with a few guttural chants making their way into the mix. I love catching instrumental bands because it gives me a freedom to really focus on the music. There is something freeing about it, I’m not sure why but I have felt this way since seeing Ulu and Willie Waldman back in the day. Kung Fu has assembled all the right pieces to the puzzle. By the third song of their set it appeared all of the hoopla that I had been hearing around this group was completely justified. "S’all Good" was a new track of theirs and it had the funky goodness of a "Cissy Strut" while other selections that night sounded more like "Bulls On Parade."

They riffed on Van Halen’s "Drop Dead Legs," which I found enjoyable and unexpected. Rob’s horn was a calming balance to Todd’s hand drum-like playing of the keys. Overall the dynamic just felt right. The highlight of the show came in the form of a Jimmy Herring cover of "Scapegoat Blues." I had planned on leaving the show early as I had to work the next morning, but they were so jawdroppingly good I couldn’t pull myself away. They ended their set with "Gung Ho," one of their originals, which as their name would imply is a ripping song. I took my leave as they went into the encore satisfied that Kung Fu is going to be around for a while. They are a force to be reckoned with in the scene and I would highly recommend that you check them out... now if possible.

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