by Melissa Caruso
With a 420 reference you can guarantee a mind-altering experience. From their trippy riffs to wah wah pedals, 420 Funk Mob is the type of band capable of hypnotizing its listeners. At City Winery, pure ecstasy dripped from the stage onto a grooving crowd at the thump of the initial bass line. Hovering over the fringes of genres, the jam band dips its toes beyond its psychedelic waters, conjuring a sound the Beatles traveled all the way to India for.
As harmonies and melodies were abandoned, heavy rhythms took center stage with fiddler Zach Brock (who's toured with double bass pioneer Stanley Clarke), inching his tiny strings into a heavy jam of layered electricity throughout the the night’s set. “Makes Me Scared” stood out as distorted riffs are pushed into the future only to slap you across the face unexpectedly seconds later. Their cover of Neil Young’s “Southern Man” was true to its 60’s sense of upheaval, but the incorporated tabla (played by Badal Roy) added a sense of tranquility. Turning down more gigs than they actually play, 420 Funk Mob has kept their sound from becoming overworked or mechanical, preserving it's raw, natural state.
Known for sharing their stage with renowned musicians, the multi-piece band made room for George Clinton who lingered nostalgia through the air, starting with "Give Up the Funk." A Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, Clinton changed the airwaves with his funk-meets-rock-and-soul outfits Parliament and Funkadelic during the 70’s and early 80’s.
Funkadelic’s disturbingly beautiful “Maggot Brain,” seared with Hendrix-like electricity, even looking ahead to the numbness of 90's grunge. 420 Funk Mob’s take (see below) is worthy of your 14 minutes: it's funky, it rocks, it grooves, it's got soul.