From New Orleans to New York to the festival circuit and beyond, funk music has exploded tremendously on the music scene, and with very good reason. Whether you Live for Live Music or simply enjoy getting down, funky tunes have a way of digging deep down into your soul and making you feel all sorts of feels, while getting your boogie on. The rich history of this genre makes it that much more special and worthy of exploration.
L4LM wanted to take a deeper look at the music, so we handpicked Our Top 10 Current Funk Acts. Enjoy!
10.) The Nth Power
This newcomer on the scene has been an instant success. Their deeply soulful, inspirational and powerful jams bring a new flavor to the genre by preaching messages of love and understanding. Drummer Nikki Glaspie, who has also toured with Beyonce’s band, recently left Dumpstaphunk to focus solely on this new project, so you know the group is only headed upwards. Courtney J’Mell Smith’s keys, Nate Edgar‘s impeccable bass lines, and Nick Cassarino’s vocals contribute further to what we are sure will be a promising future for these guys.
You wouldn’t believe how many people this band can pack on stage! This massive funk army led by Dave Brandwein is one of the most original, hard-hitting, funk acts to come out of Brooklyn! Do NOT miss a chance to see them live.
8.) Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe
Karl Denson has long been considered a legend, having lent his exceptional saxophone skills to Lenny Kravitz‘s band back in the day, and more recently as a member of the Greyboy Allstars and Slightly Stoopid. His own project has been making waves on Jam Cruise since the first ship set sail and at some of the biggest festivals in the game, including Electric Forest and Bonnaroo, often for some of the funkiest sunrise sets out there.
These New Orleans funksters have created their own breed of funk that gets down and dirty. Led by Ivan Neville of the legendary Neville family of New Orleans, Dumpstaphunk is all about making feel-good, high-energy music that you can shake your booty to. Often switching it up and experimenting with a variety of styles, their hip hop medleys are always a fan favorite.
6.) The New Mastersounds
These British blokes have rightfully earned their place at the forefront of the American funk scene. While spending a great deal of time in New Orleans post-Katrina, the instrumental jazz/funk powerhouse was able to spread messages of inspiration and hope to the city during difficult times, while fine-tuning their sound in the funk capital of the world. Their inspiring documentary, Coals To Newcastle, follows them on this journey.
5.) The Motet
A Motet show is truly a treat, from the band’s seamless improv to their undeniable spunk on stage. Their unique brand of disco funk is guaranteed to get you grooving. These guys also love to play around with funky tribute sets, exploring a new musical costume every Halloween, and frequently paying homage to the Grateful Dead with their famous “Funk Is Dead” sets.
4.) The Meter Men/Funky Meters
It’s difficult to argue that the original Meters weren’t one of the most influential funk bands of all time. With classic hits like “Cissy Strut,” “Fire on the Bayou” and “Look-Ka Py Py” that are still frequently covered by acts of all genres today, the original lineup (Art Neville, George Porter Jr., Leo Nocentelli, Zigaboo Modeliste and sometimes Cyril Neville) will forever be a staple of the New Orleans funk scene dating back to the 60s and 70s. Today, the iconic group is still doing their thing, though with a slightly varying cast of characters that goes by either the Meter Men or the Funky Meters. Seeing them join forces with Page McConnell from Phish is always a real treat!
The name Galactic has virtually become synonymous with funk. Undoubtedly one of the best in the game, these NOLA cats are not only incredibly talented, but also well-known for putting on one of the most insane and high-energy live acts out there — their 2 AM-8 AM Lundi Gras sets at Tipitina’s will change your life. From switching it up with an impressive rotating cast of guests (drawing from bands such as Living Colour, Rebirth Brass Band and The Revivalists), to incorporating elements of everything from jazz to hip hop to Mardi Gras Indian tribal chants, if you haven’t caught a Galactic show, then you are missing out.
2.) Trombone Shorty
From humble beginnings, playing as a child on the streets of New Orleans (he was a bandleader at age 6!), Troy Andrews (aka Trombone Shorty) has blown up over the last few years, and deservedly so. No matter how big he gets, playing at large-scale festivals and making television appearances left and right, he always makes sure to keep it real and remember his roots: The Trombone Shorty Foundation has made incredible strides in incorporating music into New Orleans education and keeping kids off the streets. At the ripe age of 28, Shorty is on the fast track to becoming a superstar.
Lettuce is a one-way ticket to funkytown. This ragefest is fueled by prolific band members that have all worked extensively with influential artists and bands all over the map, who come together flawlessly to bring you the biggest party in the funk world today. From playing Red Rocks to headlining festival lineups, these guys are constantly looking for new and exciting ways to bring the funk. We’re stoked for their new album coming out next year. Stay tuned for an epic documentary produced by Live For Live Music!
Most Cover-Heavy: Bonerama
Not-Quite-Funk: The Revivalists
Best of the Brass: Soul Rebels
Noteworthy Veterans: Papa Grows Funk
-Sara Furer (@FURER_)