For funk lovers, pledging allegiance to the funk or tearing the roof off the sucker in Williamsburg has long been a challenge.
The indie-rock capital of New York has been difficult to funkify until this month, when a brand new meet-up group for one nation under a groove.
For Williamsburg resident Meredith Nadler, it was post-college epiphany kindled from browsing the “groove” section of a music listing publication in Paris that led her to found the meet-up group for like-minded funk fans.
“What I realized is that what I wanted to listen to is just funk,” said Nadler. “After begging friends to come to shows, I finally decided to use Meetup.com. Bands that play that style here don’t have much of a following.”
Just to be clear, when Nadler says funk, she means soul, groove, rock, brass bands, and afrobeat, which is featured in the new Broadway musical “Fela!.” The forms can get jumbled together in the same category despite their subtle differences,
“My criteria for the meetup is that one, it’s live as I’ve had to turn down several requests for funk/soul DJ parties, and two, that the music could be described as funk,” said Nadler.
Her first meet-up group brought a few dedicated fans to a Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra show at the Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Ave.) on a sub-freezing Thursday night earlier this month, but the group has been growing. As of December 23, 75 people have signed up to group’s membership list, though there’s no exclusivity and members are encouraged to bring friends to new concerts.
Nadler believes that interest in Brooklyn-based bands from Daptone Records, whose most prominent artist is Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, will bring more people to lesser-known but equally funky groups on their label. That was the idea behind the Meetup group’s second concert at the Brooklyn Bowl (61 Wythe Avenye), which hosted the debut performance of Mellomatics, featuring Binky Griptite. Griptite and his quartet had been introducing Sharon Jones in her concerts and Mellomatics was his breakaway act.
“It was a throwback. It was very retro, very Motown,” said Nadler. “Binky upgraded from Sharon Jones to a Beyonce. Every man in the audience was ready to marry her.”
This New Year’s Eve will mark the meetup group’s third event, held at Music Hall of Williamsburg (66 North 6th Street) where the Royal Family Records Review will commence at 8 PM. The night features six hours of grovealicious music from Nigel Hall, Lettuce, which Nadler says “is one of the most underrated bands out there,” Soullive, and then Lettuce again for a post-new year’s set. Be prepared to dance your ass off.
Nadler sees the attention that her meet up is getting, she was featured recently in the New York Times regional section, as well as the growth of an array of music venues in Williamsburg as a funky thing for the neighborhood.
“It’s a changing city, maybe to our advantage,” said Nadler.
The Royal Family Records Review will take place at the Music Hall of Williamsburg at 66 North 6th Street at 8 p.m. on December 31. For more information about the funk meetup visit www.meetup.com/nyc-funk-live.