Sunday, February 3, 2013

"And now we have what everyone was waiting for, and yet no one was aware of."

“Our guitar player is gonna teach our bass player this song. One minute interlude,” said tenor sax-playing, shuffle-dancing, aviator bespectacled front man Aaron Stinson after inviting audience member Jimmy Stone onstage.

The rest of the band started a huddle in the back of the stage while Stinson walked up to the front and started playing the Jeopardy song. Patrons of the Union Cabaret waited in silence, not sure what to expect. Stone calmly walked up to the microphone, gave the band a cue, and launched into the iconic hook of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On,” as the members of the crowd burst out into stunned laughter and applause.
It was so good that it had to have been rehearsed, but it was all spontaneous. 

This was the vibe that the All-American Funk Parade gave off during their show on February 2nd: one of pure fun(k), energy, and silliness.

Their set-list was marvelously constructed. Their first set was comprised of instrumental originals that meshed nicely with dinner, and as the night wore on, the band complemented the evening like a nice three-course meal. They launched into their covers of well-known pop songs such as Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” and Nelly’s “Hot in Here.”

Other gems of the night included a somewhat surprising rendition of “Hava Nagila,” to which Stinson dedicated to “all [his] Jewish friends.” About halfway through the song, however, Stinson perfectly transitioned to the Sir Mix-a-Lot classic, “Baby Got Back.” It was moments like these that made the show perfect, and the audience went increasingly wild with each seemingly spontaneous absurdity.

While the band is based out of Lansing, an amazing number of people showed up to support the band, and they did not disappoint. After performing R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly,” Stinson announced to the crowd, “I still have the dream of becoming a Space Jam cover band. It would take a group of extremely disciplined musicians,” to which everyone hollered. Before heading into the next piece, he added,” Which we’re not.”

It is moments like these that make the All-American Funk Parade a fantastic group to see live, and they provided the energy all throughout the night to keep the crowd going. The pure wit and musicianship that they displayed makes them a must-see band. It was a laugh-a-minute show, and they made sure it was a great time for both them and the audience.

                              Parade performing "Leave a Nickle on the Nightstand" at the Union


  1. I think this piece does justice to the spontaneity of jazz music. This is exactly the sort of one night only experiences you get at the Union. The piece flows well and is easy to read, and makes we wish I had been there.

  2. They do seem quite goofy--and your listing/ knowledge of their songs was a welcome addition to the article. I usually struggle with rememebering song titles, myself.

    However, even knowing this was one of your top-5 shows, I wasn't a fan of the "marvelously constructed" or "made the night perfect." I dunno, maybe it feels like a cop out.