Friday, December 1, 2023

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Sound Stage

A Des Munks kind of funk


Des Munks played at the Gas Lamp on Friday, Feb. 1

Des Munks played at the Gas Lamp on Friday, Feb. 1

Des Munks mark the capital city’s latest entry into the funk/jam band category. While the band’s normal lineup consists of guitarist Spencer Brown, bassist AJ Simon and drummer George McCutchen, the latter of whom was out of town this past week performing in Memphis with the Rock Island Rollers. Filling in at the Gas Lamp last Friday was McCutchen’s brother, John, who’s both an adept drummer and a dead ringer for his sibling.                

The band’s first set was a straight-forward collection of covers and standards. Brown and Simon shared the vocal duties, though, frankly, Brown gave the superior effort. Simon is a more than capable bassist, but his vocals were shaky and lacked the depth or dynamic ability to really keep a crowd engaged. By contrast, Brown’s turns at the mic were much more confident, and the band would be well served to have its guitarist shoulder the brunt of the vocal work moving forward.                

The second set of the night provided a change of pace. While the opening set featured the full electric three-piece, set two was acoustic and began with Brown on stage alone. This gave the guitarist a chance to really shine, and he didn’t disappoint. Brown is an accomplished guitarist, and his voice is even better-suited to an acoustic sound.                

Special notice must be given to McCutchen, who only had a short amount of time to practice with the band before Friday’s show but, nevertheless, sat admirably in place of his brother. As a whole, the Gas Lamp performance was a workmanlike effort from the trio. There was nothing flashy in the band’s presentation or execution, but that also meant there was nothing to distract from the talent of the men on stage. CV

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