Funky vibes accompany local impressionism exhibition
Hailing from Ladera Heights, Calif., the Stones Throw signee and modern-funk impresario Dâm-Funk made his way to Houston on Friday night to play the Mixed Media party at the Museum of Fine Arts.
With the stage set up outside on the patio of the Audrey Jones Beck Building, attendees had the opportunity to move indoors and out and catch the Age of Impressionism exhibition on the second floor of the building, a structure designed by Spanish architect and Pritzker Prize winner Rafael Moneo.
After warming up the night with DJ sets from members of the Soular Grooves crew, DJ Melodic and DJ Sun (who were accompanied by live drumming), Dâm-Funk took to the stage. Beginning with a set of late ’70s and early ’80s boogie selections from acts such as Funkadelic, Dâm proceeded to play cuts from his newest effort, “7 Days of Funk,” a G-Funk collaboration with fellow West Coast musician Snoop Dogg. Soon after, Dâm performed his 2010 single “Hood Pass Intact.”
Recalling Chicago house producer and pioneer Larry Heard, Dâm played the classic track from Heard’s 2000 12-inch White Label release, “Missing You,” and applied excellent supplementary vocals.
Throughout the performance, Dâm threw up the longhorn hand gesture multiple times, or perhaps he meant “rock on” — but either way, the crowd responded and felt his enthusiasm. Perhaps the pinnacle of the night was when Dâm stood at the front of the stage, wielding his mighty Korg synthesizer as a keytar, and performed a solo, incensing the night air with strands of fruitful analog funk.
Dâm called out the year “1979” multiple times throughout the night, seemingly infatuated with the sound of that particular year, the same year that the infamous Disco Demolition Night occurred in Chicago. Few contemporary musicians are as true to post-disco as Dâm is, making him a stalwart for the sound and a staple for listeners looking for a new take on a vintage style.
Sonically, Dâm’s sound borrows from the past and is a slice of nostalgia for older listeners, but is novel for a younger crowd. Closing with a treat for the old faithful, Dâm closed with his remix of Baron Zen’s “Burn Rubber,” one of the first tracks in his name.
Sealing the deal, Dâm addressed and graciously thanked the crowd by harmonizing through his vocoder.
If anything, Dâm’s performance injected a tad more cosmic soul into Space City’s system — a gesture that is always welcome.