The frigid weather couldn’t keep the faithful away as funk/rock/jam masters Spafford kicked off their “For Amusement Only” tour in the sold out 7th Street Entry on Thursday night. These Arizona boys took the arctic temps in stride and delivered a smoking hot show to a room full of “Spaffnerds” as their fans are affectionately known.
The excitement in the room was unmistakable. With no opener, Spafford came on right around 9:15 to cheers that made the Entry walls shake. The band’s unique sound can be traced to a diversity of sources. All 4 band members and their lighting engineer write to create genre defining music. While it’s hard to peg down their style, Spafford’s jamming prowess was on full display Thursday night. The opening tune song, “Backdoor Funk”, featured a full 10 minutes of improvisation. The band developed the groove gradually, taking the room on a journey that culminated in to a soaring crescendo. That improve freedom makes for never playing the same song the same way twice. Every set list is different, a mystery to be unveiled, and Thursday night saw some jewels being played. “In The Eyes Of Theives” saw the band start kind of jazzy, then taking a left turn to psychedelic funk land.
Spafford is a jam band deeply rooted in funk, and its this twist to their music which makes it eminently danceable. While the music hurtled the crowd into outer space, their feet were firmly planted and dancing like dandelion seeds in the sunshine. The syncopated interplay between the guitar of Brian Moss and drummer Cameron Laforest weaved a danceable groove that had the fans moving like a single organism. The light show was phenomenal, and helped transport the band to other dimensions. Keyboardist Andrew Johnson’s elegant playing on “Slip and Squander” was a highlight of the second set.
While it may have been glacial outside, Spafford had the ecstatic crowd 7th Street Entry basking in the heat of their electro funk therapy on Thursday night.
Set 1: Backdoor Funk – People – In The Eyes Of Thieves – Radio – Aeroplane > Postman
Set 2: On Fire – Slip And Squander – Leave The Light On – Funkadelic
Encore: The Remedy