06/05/2014

KC & THE SUNSHINE BAND, WAR

KC & THE SUNSHINE BAND, WAR
HAMER HALL

Thereís an online quiz you can take to determine if you are a music snob. They ask if you ever bought tickets to a reunion show even though you kind of knew it would be disappointing. The cost of admission tonight comes with those very feelings of trepidation. These days one of Warís original members, Leroy Jordan, retains the moniker but tours with some pretty talented players with whom heís been working since the early noughties. Meanwhile the rest of War has formed The Lowrider Band and they also tour playing all of Warís old hits. While it may seem to casual observers that the band has declared war on itself, tonight the high-spirited Jordan is talking up the illustrious history of War that dates back to the Ď60s as they deal out a set list that sparkles with the bandís classic hits. Jordan has recreated the vital energy of one of the funkiest bands to ever emerge from East LA. The versions are tight where they need to be and spread like jam when they start digging the vibes. Sadly the party people have not quite arrived and the half-filled stalls only give War a lukewarm response. The sublime fusion of jazz, funk and Latin rhythms come together beautifully on The World Is A Ghetto, which melts into Get Down. The outfit really gets cooking with deliciously funky versions ofSpill The Wine and Galaxy. Disappointingly, All Day Music isnít included in this eveningís set but Why Canít We Be Friends? precedes the closing Low Rider. It comes to an end all too quickly and leaves us wishing that they could have played a longer set.

A gigantic mirror ball turns Hamer Hall into a discothŤque but things didnít augur well when KC & The Sunshine Band present themselves to the audience one by one and look slightly embarrassed, while one of KCís new tracks, sounding like a cross between a Stock, Aitken & Waterman and a Vengaboys production, pounds the PA. Unsure if we were ready for the experience that is about to unfold, KCís 12-piece band literally explodes from out of nowhere with the joyously glittering disco of Shake Your Booty and Boogie Shoes. KCís sexagenarian fans, who move like they need a hip replacement, were instantly on their feet and ready to dance the night away. Conscious of his weight and age, KC suggests that Justin Timberlake will probably look like him when he hits his 60s. They play all the hits just the way the fans like it and include a sweet cover of Sam Cookeís Bring It On Home To Me.  As the set progresses KC indulges in increasingly camp over-the-top theatrics. Itís distracting but his irresistible tunes make it impossible not to get down tonight. This eveningís journey into the cheesier end of the disco spectrum offers lighthearted feel-good fun. Like everyone else, even the sceptical cooler-than-thou bleach blonde hipster next to us is able to embrace the moment and dance himself clean.