The New Mastersounds 11.8.13

Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
Denver, CO

Written By Kevin Hahn (Split Open & Shoot Photography)

British bands and their relationship with the American music scene can be traced back to the early days of the Animals, the Kinks, and the Yardbirds. Bands such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Led Zeppelin followed shortly thereafter and only furthered the love affair that had taken over the United States and its Rock N Roll culture. But not many bands that crossed the pond were into the idea of “funk” and this is where more recently The New Mastersounds have filled that void. Eddie Roberts, Joe Tatton, Pete Shand, and Simon Allen have created a unique form of British funk music, utilizing their incredible individual musical talents to come together and form one hard-hitting funk machine. Fortunately, I have been lucky enough to see these ridiculously funky gentlemen play numerous times now and this past weekend’s show at Cervantes was nothing short of “Funk-ta-cular”.

With Eddie Roberts being his usual crowd-pleasing self, the funk-sters from across the Atlantic Ocean threw down two energy-packed sets with songs spanning their entire career catalog thrown in. Bassist Pete Shand was his usual funky self, controlling most of the transitions from one song to another and even showing off his vocal skills once every couple songs or so. Simon Allen seemed to be having more fun than any of us crowd members, even if he was wearing clothes this time around. (Every other time I have seen the NMS, Simon has drummed in just his tighty-whitey’s) Allen has such a positive energy when he plays the drums and his smile is nothing short of contagious when snapping pictures of him from the front row. Mr. Tatton on the Hammond B3 always seems to be in a serious mood, but his loose style of playing and almost seamless way of cooperating with Robert’s guitar licks provides a great sound for us keyboard aficionados. For this past weekend’s two performances at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom in Denver the British boys brought two of their horn-playing companions along with them. Unfortunately, I was unable to catch their names as trying to pick up every word that these Brit’s spew out is harder than catching a Yeti, but even without names they absolutely killed it on trumpet and saxophone. And then there is the leader of the pack, Mr. Eddie Roberts.

Eddie is unlike any guitar player you will encounter in our “scene” today. First off, he is a British funk guitar player who has the immense technical skill of someone from the late 60s/early 70s. Secondly, he has an incredible amount of stage presence and seems to be in control of whatever the band is playing when he is on stage. Robert’s uses his musical leadership skills to call out song transitions, when to stop/start on certain jams, and even to encourage his other band mates to continue with a ripping solo. Having first come across Roberts during his SuperJam set on Jam Cruise 11, I was immediately impressed with the pure sounds he is able to create even when throwing his strumming hand into overdrive. I am confident when I say this, there is not another guitarist in our “scene” today who can create the funky tones/sounds Roberts' can with such precision, determination, and incredible execution. Alright, enough about the man with the old-school mustache/beard combo and back to the whole enchilada.

As I said above and in numerous previous articles, I fucking love the New Mastersounds and it is truly hard for me to find a band that I can compare them to. Not only are they extremely popular in the Boulder/Denver area, but nationally they are becoming more of a household name. With this increasing success, hopefully we will be able to see these funky good times happen more often and in bigger venues to boot. After headlining this year’s LOHI Music Festival, playing the Telluride Jazz Festival, and deciding to record their new album here in Colorado it seems as if The New Mastersounds are here to stay. I truly do hope so as the idea of “funk” is slowly but surely fading away into the distant memories of people my parent’s age. Let’s bring back the FUNK together, and have Eddie Roberts, Joe Tatton, Pete Shand, and Simon Allen help lead the way. Because as our dear friend and one of the true pioneers of funk music George Clinton would say, “Is there funk after death?”

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