Heads up, live music geeks and/or those looking to heat up an ice-cold January night: Soul masters The Dynamites featuring: Charles Walker are back in town Saturday at the Southgate House.
For the uninitiated or those who need a refresher on the ’Mites ass-moving talents, check Brian Baker’s take on the band’s most recent album, 2009’s astutely titled Burn It Down: —-
When Nashville guitarist/songwriter/producer Bill Elder (aka Leo Black) was trying to assemble a Soul band a few years back, he wanted to touch on all the houses of Soul that had sprung up around the country around the same time. Elder wanted Deep Funk, a gritty, visceral Soul sub-genre, to form the core of his band’s sound. Elder built The Dynamites into a brilliant evocation of all things Soul/Deep Funk, but the band wasn’t complete until he installed Soul veteran Charles Walker as the group’s incendiary frontman (his long résumé includes opening for Wilson Pickett and James Brown at The Apollo in the late ’60s). The Dynamites soon blossomed into the churning Funk machine that exploded out of the speakers on their aptly-titled 2007 debut, Kaboom!
On their sophomore album, the just-as-aptly titled Burn It Down, The Dynamites improbably turn up the heat and bring their Soul simmer to a full boil. If James Brown was the Godfather of Soul, Charles Walker is his consigliore — he sings with hellhound conviction, divinely inspired passion and otherworldly intensity. A commandingly impressive voice like Walker’s would overwhelm all but the most accomplished and perfectly matched band. The Dynamites are equal to the task, providing a mesmerizing Funk canvas for the bold vocal strokes of their frontman.
Picking highlights from Burn It Down is like choosing your favorite limb or which major organ you’d be willing to part with, but in a set list bursting with faves, the jerking James Brown Soul of “Somebody’s Got It Better (Somebody’s Got It Worse),” the loping N’awlins Blues groove of “Do the Right Thing” and the Parliament-esque raw Funk of the title cut are all standouts. The Dynamites’ rolling, roiling Funk plus Walker’s cloudbusting Soul shout equals pure unadulterated joy and butts shaken and stirred. Equations don’t come any simpler or more elegant than that.
And here’s a taste of what you can expect of a Dynamites’ live show, which should be even hotter when performed within Southgate’s intimate confines: