By David Wagner, Contributing Writer
Vulfpeck are known not only for their good music, but for throwing the funkiest shindigs around. This ebullient group of old classmates from the University of Michigan have made a name for themselves for having the tightest rhythm section in the game. On Sunday at Brooklyn Steel, Vulfpeck lived up to their legend and delivered one of the most ethereal nights of funk and jazz New York has seen all year.
Inside Brooklyn Steel, Vulfpeck concluded the American leg of their 2017 Wisdom of Crowds Tour with a thumping bang. This band of sarcastic musical geniuses effectively brought Brooklynites into their back pockets, last night and every night. They have such a command for their music, that they can essentially play around with it.
By the time Vulfpeck had rolled out onto the stage, the giant warehouse was rumbling like an earthquake dished out by the Gods of Funk. Sporting short gym shorts that were normal back in the day of Wilt Chamberlain, guitarist/drummer/singer Jack Stratton led his unit of funky ducks into a night of rhythmic precision, advanced harmonies, and absolutely mind blowing bass lines. Led by Jack Stratton, Theo Katzman, Joe Dart, Woody Gauss, and now Cory Wong — Vulfpeck has solidified themselves as true stallions in the music industry, increasingly-so ever since their first EP released in 2011, “Thrill of the Arts”.
For one, Vulfpeck sports the best bassist in the business, Joe Dart. His bass lines swim through every song with clean precision. The best example of Dart’s signature, immediately recognizable bass playing, is during the song “Beastly,” with an extended bass solo that fans still hoped would never end.
Dart’s bass lines were accompanied by the guitar licks of Vulfpeck’s newest core member, Cory Wong. Wong plays an immaculate blue Fender Stratocaster, with a clean and compressed tone that never fails to please. During last night’s encore, “Dean Town”, a hugely successful hit from the band’s last album The Beautiful Game, was on full display as Vulfpeck’s guitar and bass harmonized through an exhilarating rapid fire of sixty-fourth note funky glory.
The rest of the band does not need much introduction. Jack and Theo are exquisite multi-instrumentalists, who rotate drum and guitar playing duties throughout, while also carrying much of the band’s lead vocals. They are also the leading comedians of the band, rambling on with strange stories about interstate highways and singing songs about “love and basketball.” Many other guests joined the band last night, including fan favorite, Antwaun Stanley, an R&B singer enshrined in Vulfpeck folklore for his splendid singing on their hit track “1612.”
Since 2011, Vulfpeck has released two studio albums, four EPs, and three exclusive Spotify releases. They are currently plugging through the last phase of their third major tour, the Wisdom of Crowds Tour. The added cherry on top was the announcement of a new studio album coming out this November. A bright future is in store ahead for the band and its loyal followers.