A virgin to The Funk, Sean Broadhurst becomes a bona fide convert at the homecoming concert for Liverpool’s galactic funk soldiers.
Being among the first to arrive at the O2 Academy, we didn’t know what sort of turnout to expect.
It could have been a bit risky for a local band to put on a show like this. The O2 Academy is one of the biggest venues in the city for travelling bands, but for Galactic Funk Militia to stage a gig here is a big deal.
They have gone all-out too; the merch stand was selling a range of colourful Galactic Funk Militia posters and vinyl.
There was a relaxed atmosphere to begin with. The night had more of a party feel to it. Lost Inhibitions and Black Beacon Sound were warming the crowd up with funky DJ sets that set the scene perfectly, as members of the band mingled with the crowd.
Bassist and band leader Mook is hard to miss. He was weaving about the audience in his custom jacket, which had name emblazoned in silver on the back, and similarly guitarist Michael Edward (the man behind Wrong Festival who folks may also recognise from the band Elevant), was sporting BDSM funk attire and a military cap.
The initially tepid audience transformed when the band finally took to the stage. After hanging around the bar, as soon as it was time to dance, the floor was filled.
The Galactic Funk virgins in the room were obvious when lead singer Amber Kuti belted out the opening lyrics to Funkstar; several heads turned in appreciation at the raw power and soul of her voice. “Let me hear you make some noise!” shouted rapper Chairman Meow to the crowd, who were already more than willing to comply.
By the time they began playing On the Rise— which fast became a crowd favourite, accompanied by excessive fist pumping — it was obvious that the risk had paid off.
It was hard to judge whether the band or the crowd had the most energy. Everybody was feeding off each other and the venue quickly became a strobe lit sweat-box. To describe the show as a gig would be massively underselling it. It was a performance. It was a spectacle. From the pit, it felt more like a funkin’ party.
The audience seemed tireless as they bounced, danced, clapped, screamed, sang, and stomped through the night — at one point we even spotted a couple of headbangers.
We feel like an important part of the band. They are not playing to us, they are playing with us. There was a collective feeling that was impossible not to get caught up in. Thankfully, the sleazy ballad Hush was well placed in the middle of the set, giving everyone a much-needed chance to catch their breath.
Throughout the night Mook and Chairman Meow interacted with the increasingly rowdy crowd. “Sign my arse!” somebody shouted. “Give me a pen and I’m there!” replied Mook. Watching the pair work the audience was a treat, their charisma and chemistry is undeniable.
The show reached its peak during the aptly named Get Sick. By then, people were sitting on shoulders, dodging the showers of flying beer and absolutely dripping with sweat as the band launched into furious drum, and guitar solos. In tribute to P. Funk legend Garry Shider, Mook began quoting Funkadelic, “If you aint gonna get it on…” and the crowd joined in, “…take your dead ass home.”
They finished to thunderous applause and there were more than a few people, us included, struggling to cheer with their worn-out voices. With no encore, it was almost as if they rang every last ounce of energy out of the crowd.
In a recent interview with Planet Slop, Mook said, “When you go to see a band, you should get a show.” That’s exactly what we got and all for the price of a pint of lemonade.
Galactic Funk Militia are headed to Chester on Friday 5th October. It’s worth heading over the water for another go.
Images by Jazamin Sinclair