Different genres of music often bring the ideal theme for the days that follow. A few weekends past, funk was proudly leading the charge. Helming the experience was Cuzins The Band who led their inner beasts into an exploding adventure at The Hall at MP. Sponsored by CEG & Nolafunk, the Mardi Gras Madness II was perfection for folks who needed a little more push into their long weekend spirit. Members of Cuzins that evening; Dank Adyrov, Stephen “Stegro” Surrett, Koichi Tanaka, Wyatt BrotherWyatt Thompson and Nate Vivacqua, were the optimal men to do it right.
It was the first full day of the pleasant warmth that would stay all weekend long. Walking in Williamsburg was exquisite and people were taking their time walking to and fro. Everyone was attempting to soak in the early spring scents and the chance to unzip some thick winter coats. Wandering the streets were the goals of many that evening. In the space, Mardi Gras beads shimmering from colorful violet and amber lights perfected the ambiance. Up by the stage a good portion of the room remained open for dancing space. Early fans happily grabbed drinks and the anticipated chatter echoed throughout the hall.
Being prompt professionals, the men of Cuzins came out in a flash. As they took a moment to tune up, they were hit with a pale ocean blue light that gave them a suave glow from the start. Cheers from friends were heard as Nate welcomed everyone to the show. Not only that, he was adamant in encouraging people to move up from the back to take advantage of the dance floor for some action. A few folks obliged and grooved throughout their set. Some light strumming was the start of their performance and exuberant trippy wails came through on the guitars. That short musical introduction then gave way straight to glorious funk-blues. Drummer Wyatt was the center of attention as his beats matched is wild hair that flowed continuously. A grin was often plastered on his face. When Nate was singing and vibing on his guitar, his feet were swiveling all over the stage. Their satisfaction and enjoyment was obvious for all who listened and watched.
Classic and contemporary New Orleans funk were the staple of the genre during Cuzin’s set. However, it is worth noting that a blues vein floated within most of their songs. Soul harmonies among their peers brought the level to a more intimate approach. Every instrument solo was quick and precise. Wyatt’s drums were catchy in the jam sessions that followed the middle of the set. Nate’s sublime slide guitar skills shone well once the intensity of the rhythm hit its peak. Dank on the keys somehow was always able to bring things back down to a grounded level that supported a like-minded emotional flow. Plucks from Stegro on bass and Koichi on guitar unleashed a funk-jazz appeal as well. When jam sessions were introduced, they were all well-rehearsed and the camaraderie focus was apparent. Some improvisation came through, but time kept the men set in their organized mode. If there were minutes to spare, Cuzins could have gone on with an elaborate quest. Intermittent keys and unusual intervals offered an interesting build into the bouncy funk. Grinding guitars came up through the shared keys and classic rock was discovered in their repertoire albeit only for short while.
Cuzins never wasted any time. Each song transitioned into the next smoothly for optimum use of time. At the core continued to be the blues. Depths of the genre’s sound could be heard by even the untrained ear. Yes, funk was the compelling factor that night, but the soulful insides gave the men an added vitality with the blues. Each man was in his own funk zone and played their role well to work together for some solid tunes. No matter the length, their music hit a lasting chord with folks in the space. The erratic light show on the stage helped too. Their cool demeanor did not match the exciting liveliness they brought to their music. For example, rarely did the men move from their musical bubble or break out into dance. Focus and attention to detail was their game plan.
Towards the end of their set, the crowd had grown slightly and dancing began. Cuzins brought their music down a bit and that classic blues feel was open. They were grabbing onto the roots of the blues and making it their own. A storytelling volume of lyrics became their signature development. Soul was alive and well with a dual combination of optimism and sorrow. It was a smooth blending of funk, blues, rock and soul. Cuzins The Band were groovy and entertaining. Their obvious excitement and thrill will be pushing them forward in the ever-growing music space. As long as their dedication to the craft and their continued creative flow remains solid, they cannot lose. They are funky men to listen to.