It all began inside Funk ‘n Waffles, a specialty Syracuse, N.Y., cafe that serves meals all day and electronic music at night.“I remember sitting in with this band and looking at the drummer,” said Funk ‘n Waffles co-owner Adam Gold, looking back to 2007. “I realized it’d be really great to play with this guy.”
The drummer, Emanuel Washington, joined Gold for a few jam sessions, and later, Jack Brown, an emcee and vocalist, jammed too.
“That first rehearsal was so exciting,” Gold said. “We had an unspoken agreement that this was it.”
Now, the three make Sophistafunk, a New York-based analog soul band traveling the western United States as part of a four-week winter tour. They play at 9 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at John’s Alley in Moscow.
“I’ve been playing in bands for 15 years,” Gold said, calling on a drive from Utah to Los Angeles. “Eman has been playing drums his whole life. He was playing jazz and R&B and soul and funk. By the time we met, he had experience in all types of music. As far as Jack goes, he has had a profound love of music and knowledge. He’s a heavy reader. He can keep a lot of information in his brain.”
Song creation is a collaboration between the three, from improvising on stage to building on ideas, but Gold said Brown wrote all of the lyrics for their 2013 album “Freedom Is.”
Brown said he listens to jazz, East Coast 1990s hip hop and Bob Marley for inspiration. While their previous album “twentyeleven,” took time to embellish while producing, Gold said “Freedom Is” sounds more like a live recording.
“We went in there and played the way that we play a show,” he said.
They haven’t played live shows out west as often as east, but Gold said he’s finally noticed audiences are building when the band returns to a city.
“It’s exciting for us to come back and see really great fan bases,” he said. “This past week in Colorado was our best one yet. We had the largest turn out consecutively.”
Their Moscow show won’t be their first time visiting the area either.
“It was a Monday night, and once we started playing music, everyone went crazy,” said Gold, who watched a dance party break out almost exactly a year ago.
Vertical Dave, John’s Alley’s soundman, “slaughtered and beat” Brown at ping pong.
“We’re coming back,” Gold said,” to reclaim our ping pong abilities.”
The 21-and-up show costs $5 at the door.
Treffry can be reached at (208) 883-4640 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @LindseyTreffry.
->if you go:
WHAT: Sophistafunk performs
WHEN: 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday
WHERE: John’s Alley Tavern, 114 E Sixth St., Moscow
COST: $5, 21-and-up