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Grand Slam

Review 04/11/99 From: FF Gap

Grand Slam feat. Gary 'Mudbone' Cooper & Rick Gardner Cologne, Germany, April 11, 1999, Die Kantine We went to Cologne to see Grand Slam. Horny Horns member Rick Gardner was supposed to be special guest of the show. The venue was Die Kantine where I had seen Bootsy rock the house 4 years ago. The club has room for about 300 people but only about 100 showed up. SHAME! Now for the music: Opening for Grand Slam in Cologne was a four piece band (gt, bs, dr, voc) in funky outfits called "Party Popes". They were opening act at Bootsy's concert in the same venue 4 years ago. I didn't like them too much then but they really improved their skills. They were tighter now and most of all the singer was funny. After 40 minutes they left the stage and after a short break the 9 members of Grand Slam dropped some serious funk on us. I was surprised Rick Gardner was blowing his trumpet already during the first song. The first 30 minutes or so were filled with compositions by the band such as "Manik Botanik", "Luv Rite" and "Ride On The Rhythm" (being the title track of their 1997 6-track CD). In comparison to the show half a year ago they had improved their vocal style a lot. And the keyboardists were way more funky. Then 'Rockin' Rick Gardner was announced and the vocalists had left the stage he played two instrumentals. Having never seen him live I was surprised how smooth his sound was compared to the other Horny Horns. A good surprise to me. After this instrumental break it was time to introduce the great voice of Gary 'Mudbone' Cooper. He began with an inspired cover of Sly Stone's "Family Affair" followed by other covers like "Cosmic Slop" and "Thankful N Thoughtful". During the whole set he sang several other classics as "Skin Tight" or "Mothership Connection". He also integrated himself into the band as a background singer giving the spotlight to the three vocalists of which Michael 'Mischmaschine' Deiml has the best voice and feeling in my opinion. "Look To The Rainbow" sung by Gary was another highlight of the show. Rick Gardner only played on some of the songs of the nearly 3 hours set. To me he proofed what the band needs to be even better: a horn section. So after almost three hours we had experienced a good amount of funk focused on but not limited to the P., James Brown, Ohio Players, Zapp, Prince (with "Make Yo Mama Happy" from the Crystal Ball set), and many others were referenced. But the band played all those big names and their own stuff in a unique style. Therefor the true funkateers (some had even traveled from Holland!) were really impressed by the show. The band, like so many funk acts, deserves much more publicity and larger crowds. Remind you: They had two original P. Funkers in their band. Like one of their refrains says it: It's a P. Funk thing... FF Gap

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