Monday, February 13, 2012
UMass Daily Collegian By: Chelsie Field | February 12, 2012
When local group Who’da Funk It opened a show at Northampton’s Iron Horse earlier this month, they performed so well that it led concert attendee Libby Styles to say, “I don’t think the Iron Horse has ever been that groovy.”
Indeed, it seemed the Iron Horse Music Hall was ablaze with funky fire on Saturday, Feb. 4, as Who’da Funk It opened up for Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, filling the venue with energetic grooves.
The evening’s activities opened with local funk/rock group Who’da Funk It. This impressively young, all-female band hailing from Amherst was no stranger to the Iron Horse, having performed a handful of times there already. From the moment their set began, the dance floor –originally a bit sparse and spotty – was instantly flooded with bouncing bodies pressing close to the stage.
The majority of the songs were belted out by 15-year-old lead vocalist Deja Carr, whose intensely bold powerhouse of a voice goes far beyond her teenage years. Awed and smiling audience members, dancing all the while, seemed transfixed on the spell Carr cast as she commanded all attention on stage. Supplemented perfectly by the backing of the rest of the band – and an occasional appearance with Primate Fiasco tuba player J Witbeck – these ladies seemed in perfect complement of one another.
In addition to the good vibes they shared with the audience, Who’da Funk It also shared some news as well. Tess Domb Sadof – a saxophonist who has been playing with the group for quite some time – has officially been added to the lineup. The band also announced the completion of their first EP; copies were being sold after the show for $6.
The opening act ended with a bang and raucous applause from the audience. Drummer Emma Sevene was pleased with the night as a whole.
“It was really fun and we had a great time,” she said, adding that she loved Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds. “I’m so honored to be opening for them. They’re such great musicians.”
And so the stage was set, all warm and funk’ed up for headlining act Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, who used the platform to absolutely set fire to the Iron Horse for a second time with their tight and soulfully fresh fervor.
Squeezing their abnormally large band of nine members onto the stage, the Dirty Birds started off their wild performance by blasting through every pore of the Iron Horse before Sister Sparrow graced all with her presence to top it off.
Her voice was as far as could be from her skinny black leather pants and petite frame – it was big, commanding and passionate. The whole package is something along the lines of soul overload supported by deafening, bluesy, funk. Their stage presence and sound was ominous and controlling of the senses.
With her hair whipping and body twisting, Sister Sparrow kept the energy level high as she and the Dirty Birds flew through upbeat songs, such as fan favorites “Freight Train” and “Crawdaddies,” as well as enticing the audience with a new track, “Another Ride,” off their upcoming album.
Their new album, “Pound of Dirt,” is set to be released next week. The album can be preordered on Amazon.com at http://amzn.to/birdspreorder.
Chelsie Field can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.