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August 1-7, 2007

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Bring on the Funk

Honeycut's essentials: chops, attitude and sweat

By Gabe Meline


Among the sea of retro-funk bands cropping up lately, none has strutted such manic decontrol onstage as the Bay Area's own Honeycut. Chops and attitude are a must in funk, and Honeycut sprinkle both with that added, vital ingredient: sweat. Led by Bart Davenport, a jack-of-all-trades Bay Area musician who fronted the Kinks-ish retro band the Loved Ones (and who has collaborated with both country renegades and hip-hop DJs), the band don't get down by the books; you're likely to hear slivers of classic songwriting puncturing Honeycut's pounding groove, which is a welcome change from the repetitious vamping of less inspired trend-hoppers. Above all, the full-body workout is the band's ace; if we could somehow call up Joanie Greggains and talk her into reviving Morning Stretch for a new generation, Honeycut would be the ideal studio band.

This weekend's warmup calisthenics come by way of A Pack of Wolves, a neo-disco duo comprising former members of Girls in Suede but unencumbered by any of that band's penchant for quirky time signatures. Along with the constant buzz of the accessory laptop, the two fill a primitive dance prescription that sounds eternally futuristic; even 10 years from now, I suspect that people will hear A Pack of Wolves and label them as "the sound of tomorrow." The key is simplicity. Eden Mazzola's thumping beats could be sampled for the next series of DFA 12-inch singles, and the guitar hooks of Cesco Catania are crisply streamlined in a way his earlier band never was. Add the Win Butler-esque vocals of Catania and a dedicated workload (a two-week tour follows this weekend's show), and you've got a band to look out for.

Special mention must be made also of Judah Nagler, who appears playing acoustically with Ashley Allred (last week's Arcadia model). Everyone's been wondering what's happening with Nagler's currently hibernating outfit Velvet Teen of late, but seeing him stripped down should render the question less urgent--with the reassurance that the magic lies in the craftsman, and not necessarily the tools. Nagler's always got a stovetop of new songs simmering at any given time, but this weekend, to sate our hunger, he'll delve into the Velvet Teen songbook for some long-unheard classics.


Honeycut, A Pack of Wolves, Judah Nagler and Vision of a Dying World perform on Friday, Aug. 3, at the Phoenix Theater. 201 E. Washington St., Petaluma. 8pm. $13. 707.762.3565.


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