Vintage soul, dirty funk: All night long with Kings Go Forth

Milwaukee soul-funk royalty Kings Go Forth closed out this year’s Bay View Bash Saturday.

Photo by TJ Fackelman

Afternoon rain delayed the starting times at Saturday’s Bay View Bash, forcing Milwaukee’s Kings Go Forth to take the stage at 9:35 p.m. and play a truncated set. But no matter: Kings Go Forth reminded the crowd that sometimes all you need are some good tunes to have one fine day.

KGF held the headlining slot on the
Rush-Mor Records stage, a natural location for a band whose dirty funk and soul sounds at home among old ‘60’s vinyls. Taking up every last inch of the stage with ten members and their instruments, KGF made the best of the situation. They weren’t even phased by the aluminum pole in the center of the stage splitting up the three male vocalists.

The set got off to a fresh start with the bouncy “You’re The One,” the b-side on their wildly popular One Fine Day single. The song begins with light horns, keys and a sparse tambourine beat, gradually picking up steam until blasting horns bring in and the whole band. Everyone in the crowd suddenly had the urge to bounce along, bob their heads and smile. KGF kept the crowd moving throughout the 40-minute set, sticking to lively funk numbers, veering into other styles at times – a little reggae here, a little Spanish flamenco there – one of the highlights was “Isabella,” a lounge-y, flamenco-fused love song. Love and good times definitely seem to be the name of the game for KGF. Good luck trying to find a song of theirs that doesn’t mention the word “love,” or at least make reference to it.

KGF’s style is marked by a distinct tight/loose sound; the nine (now ten) members work with each other in a way that lets them play loosely on tight arrangements. It’s all about the songwriting and the layering of simple sounds. They would sound great with just one singer, but they bring up the sound another level creating three-part vocal harmonies, giving the music more complexity and authenticity.

It’s no surprise Kings Go Forth blends loose, genuine soul and funk with other styles. They have members of the bands Highball Holiday, The Pacers, International Jet Set, The Essentials and De La Buena, who kept the party going later that night with a set at Club Garibaldi. Pumping out the cool bass lines for KGF is Andy Noble, founder of Lotus Land Records, and a notorious crate-digging DJ who specializes in rare old-school funk and soul records. Noble also pulled double duty Saturday night, reviving his old-school record spinning party, The Get Down, at its new location Mad Planet.

– TJ Fackelman

2 Responses to “Vintage soul, dirty funk: All night long with Kings Go Forth”

  1. Big Mike Says:

    Nice blog buddy! Look forward to reading more of your writing!

    If you ever need a blog about some metal shows i’m goin to a bunch in the next few weeks!

    ~ BIG MIKE

  2. RadioMilwaukee Music Awards Winners: A quick digest « Fan-Belt Milwaukee Says:

    […] Award (Best In-Studio Performance) – Stealin’ Strings Memorable Concert of the Year – Kings Go Forth at Bay View Bash (Listener Choice Award) Album Artwork of the Year – “Esque,” The Rip Off Artists The 88Nine […]

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