Night of the Living Funk
Photos by Sam teichman
When brothers Jon and Chris Lijoi traveled to Florence, Italy with Wayne Krantz and the NYU Big Band they conceived an idea tracing back to their teenage interests: tight funk grooves and black and white horror flicks. “We wanted to take the live performance one step further and incorporate a visual stimulant,” explains front man Jon Lijoi of their unique performance wherein they project old horror movies on stage while playing. The idea came about after a rigorous week of rehearsals and gigs with Krantz. Maybe it was the change of scenery, or the bottle of wine that triggered this newfound project, but it was at their last Italian dinner they agreed to set up jam sessions once they were back in the states.
Coming back to New York the brothers quickly assembled a crew of inspired music students to set forth with on this project. After a great deal of playing together the band was no longer just an idea but a group of nine guys with a mutual love and dedication to funk, soul, and jazz music. Not to mention they had an oversized tapestry (Thanks Casey!), HD Projector (Thanks Dan!), and a slew of old school horror flicks at their disposal. Constantly searching for new outlets and experiences they occasionally collaborated with hip hop artists such as Illspokin and emcees from Trustatement Ent. Now, close to a year later the band just can’t get enough of the stage, with three residencies under their belt at NYC venues Sullivan Hall, Lit Lounge, and Tutuma Social Club.
Just like their trip across the Atlantic the Night of the Living Funk’s shows are about exiting your day to day and entering a funk injected dance party. Their influences range from The Black Exotics to Michael Jackson to Outkast and they perform an array of originals, covers, and arrangements. So be prepared for anything, who knows what’s going to happen? As Chris Lijoi exclaims, "We don’t, and that’s the beauty of it all.”