By Andy J. Gordon
Orgone, a Los Angeles based funk, rock and soul group, heated up The Mint in Los Angeles on November 23, 2011. This group of talented musicians tours extensively and their live shows have an energy that is greater than the music on their studio albums. The show featured nearly two hours of inspired instrumental tunes and sultry vocals that brought a dance happy crowd to a sweaty hysteria.
Orgone (www.orgonespace.com) is a group of old school funk loving artists that give a modern interpretation to the music. They have been at it for about ten years and seem to have found a successful groove with the recent addition of Niki J. Crawford on vocals. Crawford brings an impressive vocal range and resume to the mix. She most recently was a backup singer for Macy Grey, but her dynamic stage presence should keep her firmly planted at the front of the stage. The eight piece band that came to The Mint (www.themintla.com/) is a fine collection of musicians. Sergio Rios, one of the band’s founders, effortlessly moves from funky rhythm to lead guitar. Dan Hastie, another original member on keys, drives the funk vibe and lays down trippy solos. The heavy beat is pounded out by Sam Halterman on drums and Stewart Killen on percussion. Darren Cardoza on trombone and Devin Williams on trumpet play some killer solos and their tight horn arrangements enhance the band’s full sound.
The gig started off with a couple of instrumentals. “Melting Pot,” a Booker T & The MGs cover segued into “Cali Fever,” from their 2010 album of the same name. Crawford hit the stage for “Break in the Road,” a soulful tune that showcased her smooth vocals and sultry gyrations. Next up were the funky “Rock Me Again,” “Give it Up” and “Who Knows Who.” Crawford took a break while the band cooked on a couple more instrumentals. Crawford returned for the catchy “Whole Lot of Reasons” and “Funky Nassau,” a cover of the 1971 tune by The Beginning of the End. The audience was a sweaty mess after Hastie and Rios nailed solos during “Ain’t No Use” and the set ending “Cynthy.” The last song sounded like a soulful tune that Aretha Franklin would have belted out forty years ago. After a brief departure, the band returned to a chorus of chants for “Cosmic,” the Parliament Funkadelic cover that has been one of Orgone’s live performance staples. Crawford teased the crowd by asking what they wanted to hear before the band launched into the tune. Rios played a psychedelic guitar riff and Crawford shimmied to the vibe as the crowd swayed to the music. It was a fitting close to a hot show.
Photos courtesy of Andy J. Gordon