Friday 27th of October.
It’s rare to see a band having so much fun on stage, whilst also performing to such a high level of musicianship. But that was the case with the EP launch of Jack Mac’s Funk Pack. The event took place at The Big Top in Cardiff City Centre, a circus-like venue complete with multicoloured lighting and sofas which added perfectly to the atmosphere. Taking to the stage first as support were Cardiff’s local jazz hip hop group, Dirty Alex, and the night ended with DJ High Walls on decks. The main band in question performed a blend of originals by Jack McDougal, some of which feature on the new Feel It EP, as well as a few fun covers.
The extensive rhythm section and front-line took up most of the stage, with the majority of the members being students of the Royal Welsh College. McDougal was on tenor saxophone, with Mark Fortnum on baritone, Tom Voyce on trumpet, and Lloyd Pearce on trombone. Michael Blanchfield was on electric keyboard, Matheus Prado on electric bass, and Jack Bryant on guitar. Michael Hearty on bongos and Alex Goodyear on kit provided a tight percussion section.
A memorable part of the night was the collection of featured singers, comprising of Alina Miroe and Joe Dimonaco, as well as some of the band’s instrumentalists. It was quite the novelty to see McDougal begin singing vocals reminiscent of Cab Calloway, before launching into a full-on, Brecker-style saxophone solo. Tom Voyce’s powerful rendition of Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing brought whoops and yells from the audience. Miroe’s uplifting performance of ‘Sunshine’, also on the EP, was heart-warming. Overall, there was a dynamic mix of heavy funk grooves, stimulating instrumental solos, and general fun throughout the performance. McDougal dedicated his final song to Fats Domino, who he described as a big influence.
Keep an eye out for the Funk Pack, as you’re bound to see them gigging around town on the weekends.
ECHO | Gail Tasker