Out of the many excellent bands on the contemporary funk circuit, I personally think that L.A.’s Orgone is one of the greasiest and most underappreciated groups doing it today. Each one of their albums is heavy-laden with meaty cuts that you might swear came from 1977 if you didn’t know better. I’ve been evangelizing about this band for a while now to anyone who will listen, and was anxious to see their deliberately crafted retro sounds in motion again.
Orgone played twice last year at Bear Creek, although the first show seemed under-attended and the second was early in the afternoon. That being my first time seeing them, and knowing full well the extensive size of their catalog of gems, I was quite cross to find that they actually repeated maybe three to five songs between their two sets at BC’10–a big no-no for back to back festival performances! Don’t get me wrong, their performance was excellent, but it just wasn’t…. what I knew it could be!
This year, on the other hand, was exactly the Orgone show I’d been waiting for. They dropped a great mix of new tunes and old, with a ferocious amount of energy on stage. Unlike last year this set was outdoors after sunset, and a giant, enthusiastic crowd had gathered to move to those west-coast grooves!
Their keyboard player, whose solos really did a number on me at their previous shows, never really quite stepped up to the intensity level of which he is capable. But as seen in the photo collage above, artist at large Robert Walter stepped in to provide that B3 hotness. The horn section certainly was as powerful and brazen as ever–a central component to the signature punch Orgone delivers. Being partial to brass horns, these guys with their tight articulations and well-crafted harmonies are an inspiration to behold. Seeing their trumpeter and trombonist work together is a treat.
There’s been some personell changes since I caught them last, although from the looks of their website I think the band may just have several players who swap out depending on availabilty. That makes sense since these guys have a positively brutal touring schedule. If you get a chance–and you will–go check them out. Seriously. Top shelf grooves, this stuff.
It was certainly great to get in the crowd and feel the energy their music was stirring up amongst the people. When the performance ended in a climactic frenzy, Bill commented “That felt like some kind of grand finale.” to which I roared with excitement, “And this is literally just the very beginning of the must-see shows at this fest!”