Holy funk was that out of this world. Hold on, I need to take another minute and breathe. Phew, there we go. I could not believe what went down this weekend at the Funk House we built for Insomniac’s Beyond SoCal. My legs are still sore from dancing (and building for two weeks), but it’s the good kind…don’t worry.
So, it began like it always does…with a notepad and an idea. When we met Pasquale last year he said he wanted to bring back the vibe of old-school raves, giving the people an eclectic choice of music and the ability to have a space they can feel comfortable just jamming and letting loose…instead of raging the entire time. In early raves there would always be a ‘funk room’ where people would do exactly that. Our job was to build a space that matched the vibe…so we got to work, pulling inspiration from all sorts of classic funk heroes, mixing them all up and coming out with our own silly Imagine Nation style of funk. What resulted from this was the Funk House, and if you were there you knew it was something special.
The area was a 360 degree immersive space, filled with funky characters, stilters, and grooving dancers all setting the stage for a feel-good vibe. Whether it was rehearsed dance skits or random funky moves, the performers always had the crowd smiling, feeling relaxed, and at home. The best parts of the night came when all the performers would get out in the crowd and start a ‘soul train’ letting the headliners show off their top moves. It really connected everyone, and got random strangers to dance together in pure funky bliss.
The music was different than all the other stages, there was an entire line-up of old-school funk DJs just ready to give the headliners something new (but really way older) to listen to. Whether it was Troy Kurtz, Grahame Funke, or the Beat Junkies the mood was always set right. There was nothing to do but feel good when that music hit your ears. I heard classics I haven’t heard in years with Jazzy Jeff remixing songs from Nirvana, Jack White, and I believe I even heard a little Phil Collins getting in the mix.
Z-TRIP was on fire, pumped up to be on a stage built exactly for his style. He gave a passionate speech right before his first set that can only be described as a battle cry. “We’re trying to bring back the funk, the hip hop, the soul, the b-boy shit, the breaks…just to change it up, man, so you don’t always have to be fucking raging with your hands in the air.” He was getting himself and the crowd more hype with every word. “We’re going to take you back to before it turned into raves and big shit. When it was a warehouse, and they threw the fucking hip hop guys in the basement, alright? Well, we’re not in the basement anymore. We’re here, tonight. To rock it for you.” It honestly sent chills down my spine, his passion and love for his art.
And if you thought his first set was crazy, it was just the beginning…because on night two DJ Jazzy Jeff and Z-TRIP played a 2-hour, 4 decks, live, scratching freestyle set. LIVE. LIVE! It was something else, man. For all the shows I’ve been to, I have never been that blown away. They really did bring back old-school DJing, and it was a historic night for music. And to have it all happen on the stage we built for them was the cherry on top. The music gods really blessed us that night with some spectacular performance.
Thank you. To Everyone. Everyone who played, everyone who danced, everyone who came with good intentions and left inspired. And thank you Insomniac for letting us build. The Funk House experiment was a great success. Can’t wait to do it again! Imaginator out.