On a hot and sticky night in June, Kool & the Gang take to the stage in matching sequinned shirts, with no regard for the temperature, glistening under the lights of the Brighton Dome as only a 1970’s funk band should.
With an energy and enthusiasm that in no way reflects their age, the band, many of whom are original members, broke into a dramatic and unashamedly funky instrumental introduction, before playing the instantly recognisable opening lines of their 1985 hit ‘Fresh’.
Vocals are shared by members new and old, each taking his turn to gyrate along the stage. Many, many gestures are made to the ‘ladies in the house tonight’, a distinctly feminine roar of approval fills the venue, giving the band the cue to break into yet another classic disco funk track, this time in the form of ‘Ladies Night’, Kool & the Gang you old charmers.
Still writing and releasing material, new track ‘Sexy’ is received by the audience with the same enthusiasm as anyone of their favourites of yesteryear, but as the horn section break into the unmistakeable first few notes of ‘Jungle Boogie’, it becomes very clear what the audience came for.
It is quite literally a throwback to a 1970’s disco party on the stage this evening, a feeling that spread throughout the venue as the audience, a mixture of young and old fans, danced to the familiar and infectious grooves of songs such as ‘Get Down On It’ ‘Too Hot’ and ‘Summer Madness’. Kool & The Gang deliver in every way imaginable, with textbook synchronised dance moves, matching sparkly outfits, and a quite unforgettable cartwheeling trumpet player whose antics steal the show on more than one occasion.
Kool & the Gang are very much one of those bands that are responsible for more songs than you think. In the last four decades the band have featured heavily on movie soundtracks, adverts, and have been endlessly sampled by pop and hip hop acts alike. So much so that the entire evening feels like a showcase of the greatest disco hits of the last four decades, each song is a pleasant surprise and welcomed by the crowd like an old friend.
After almost two hours of non stop, relentlessly entertaining disco and funk, the evening draws to a close. The last song of the evening is quite fittingly ‘Celebration’, yet another classic from the extensive back catalogue of a fantastically entertaining band. Kool & his gang can be forgiven for not playing an encore tonight, there was nothing more that needed to be said.
Local band Thrill Syndicate have had the honour of opening for Kool and The Gang both in London at the O2 and here in Brighton, and we rolled in early tonight to catch their performance. Thrill Syndicate are a funky little 5 piece, with infectious grooves and catchy hooks who appear to have their own section of fans this evening, each song is as danceable as the last and the band serve as a fitting opener for the main act.
Kool & the Gang + support from Thrill Syndicate
June 14th, Brighton Dome
Words by Lloyd Coote
Photos by Gili Dailes