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Monday, 20 May 2013

Voodoo Shango Experience at Petit Campus

Voodoo Shango Experience  |  Petit Campus

ONE SCAT, ONE GOOD SET  |  SEAN ZUMBUSCH

I made my way out and up the stairs to Le Petit Campus to see the Voodoo Shango Experience. They are a little bit different from the rest of the bands I have covered in the electronic pages of Soupe Kitchen, as they are a funk band. I am in no way adverse to watching funk acts; in fact, I highly enjoy the bass-driven grooves, horn sections, and saucy percussions that accompany that particular genre. I don’t really follow what’s hip, happening, and current with the funk, but I nonetheless like it when I see and hear it on stage.

The crowd, too, was a little different from the crowds at most of the shows I have covered thus far in that there was a much wider range of ages between the audience members; for once, there were a number of grey-hairs in the establishment. As far as the venue itself is concerned (this being my first time here, blah blah blah), it is about the same as any other in town. It has a sizeable dance floor, a large enough stage, a quality PA system, and there are tables in the back end of the space. It’s a nice place for a band to play. There were two bands that played on this evening. 

The first band was pretty forgettable, as it was a collection of bros clad in diesel and true religion gear performing a set of U2 covers. I get that U2 is a really popular band, but I cannot, for myself, imagine being so inspired by their music that I would want to form a  cover band that only performs their songs. It’s like if you were to tell your friends and acquaintances that your absolute favourite restaurant is McDonalds (as in, you‘re shaking with gleeful anticipation when you come near those golden arches), or something similar to that. Oh, that’s right; cover bands are supposed to make more money on average than bands that play originals. I guess that would be their reason for forming such a band. The musicians more or less played the songs as they appeared on the original recorded output, though their vocalist appeared to have a difficult time hitting all of Bono’s high notes. A band with a set of originals could have played in this slot, and that makes me sad. Thankfully, The Voodoo Shango Experience came along and all was forgotten.

One thing that intrigued me about the Voodoo Shango Experience was their sound check. Rather than the usual slightly awkward back-and-forth interaction with the sound guy, the members of the band starting with the bongo player entered the stage one after the other and began jamming onstage. Everyone kept going until finally everyone was on stage, vamping on a sweet slice of funk. It was a seven piece band: bongos, drummer, bassist, guitarist, trumpeter, saxophonist, and a front man that sang and played the guitar and trombone. The front man’s stage presence is unique in that he was a tall gentleman clad in a white suit and leather cowboy hat (as well as a police uniform later on in the evening). He addressed the audience in French, and the band proceeded to lay down some heavy jams. They succeeded in bringing the crowd out from their comfortable places to the dance floor, and they entranced the audience with the funk. I was particularly impressed by some blistering saxophone solos; there’s not enough of those in today’s music scene. Those solos left me clamouring for more. The Voodoo Shango Experience’s set satisfied me in a way that I am not usually satisfied, and I recommend seeing them the next time that they’re playing. 

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