Five Alarm Funk
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Five Alarm Funk

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2006 | SELF

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2006
Band World Funk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Five Alarm Funk "Robot" (video)"

With a nine-member lineup and a drive to deliver the groove, it's no surprise that Vancouver-based ensemble Five Alarm Funk know how to get a party started. That fun-loving attitude has wormed its way into the band's brand new video for "Robot," and Exclaim! has got your first look at the new clip.

The group teamed up with Vancity production unit Atomic Cartoons to make the video, which is the first in a series of clips corresponding to the band's new concept album Abandon Earth. It blends live action and green screen footage with fancy 3D/AFX techniques to tell the story of the world's destruction at the hands of a killer robot — and Five Alarm Funk's quest to survive.

It's not all doom and gloom, though, thanks to some vibrant live footage of the band in concert. If you like what you see, you can check out the band live on their upcoming tour dates, which are listed below.

Scroll past the upcoming shows and follow all the action and adventure by watching the video premiere of "Robot" in the player below.

Tour dates:

06/13 Vancouver, BC - Red Truck Concert Series
06/27 Saskatoon, SK - Saskatchewan Jazz Festival
06/28 Port Renfrew, BC - Tall Tree Festival
06/30 Calgary, AB - Dickens
07/02 Winnipeg, MB - the Pyramid Cabaret
07/03 Thunder Bay, ON - Crocks
07/05 Sudbury, ON - Northern Lights Festival Boreal
07/08 Sarnia, ON - Paddy Flaherty's
07/09 London, ON - Sunfest
07/10 Antigonish, NS - Evolve Festival
07/11 Toronto, ON - Panamania
07/12 London, ON - Sunfest
07/14 Toronto, ON - Panamania (Distillery)
07/15 Peterborough, ON - Red Dog Tavern
07/16 Kingston, ON - Taphouse
07/17 Montreal, QC - Le Divan Orange
07/22 Regina, SK - Mcnally's Tavern
07/23 Edmonton, AB - Mercury Room
07/29 Bellingham, WA - Downtown Sounds
08/15 Cumberland, BC - Atmosphere Gathering - Exclaim

"Five Alarm Funk gets animated"

Last year, party-starting local ensemble Five Alarm Funk released ABANDONEARTH, a concept album about our planet’s destruction at the hands of a giant robot. Now the group has teamed with Vancouver animation studio Atomic Cartoons and plans to turn the record into a feature-length movie.

Drummer-vocalist Tayo Branston approached Atomic with the idea when Five Alarm Funk performed at one of the company’s staff events. The firm agreed to help adapt the album into what Branston calls a “funk opera” using a hybrid of live action and animation.

“It’s on the edge of realism, but it’s definitely fantastical,” Branston told the Straight. “It still has kind of a painted feel to it.” The finished product will include dialogue, an expanded story line, and additional music.

Five Alarm Funk and Atomic will begin by creating a music video, which they expect to be out in March. They will then use that short clip as a pitch to try to secure a home for the planned feature-length project. “If all dreams come true, we could get it on Netflix or Shomi,” Branston said. - Georgia Straight

"Opportunity of a lifetime"

Dameian Walsh, originally from Grand Falls-Windsor and Mount Pearl, is the saxophonist for the Canadian Gypsy Rock, Ska and Punk band, Five Alarm Funk.

On July 11, the band played at the PANAMANIA concert in Toronto for the 2015 Pan Am Games.

Walsh has been playing in Five Alarm Funk for about nine years.

“Five Alarm Funk does lots of great things,” Walsh told The Advertiser.

“We did just play the Pan Am Games, which was awesome. There were lots of people there, lots of stuff to go through.”

Performing at an event such as the Pan Am Games means there were many more people who could become interested in the band, he said.

“The first Pan Am Games show was at PANAMANIA, and it was a big, huge, colourful set,” he said. “There were all these people walking around in there. It was really interesting to look at.

“But, its not the same as a Five Alarm Funk show at one of our big clubs in Vancouver, of if we play a festival where all the people there are only there to see Five Alarm Funk.”

It was still a lot of fun to be part of something “that big and cool,” he said.

“We got a bunch of phone calls from people saying they saw us on TV and on the news. Lots of people seeing you who wouldn’t normally see you is part of the greatness of the event. We’re trying to make ourselves a bigger audience right now to be able to tour longer and farther away.”

He said it’s not the first time Five Alarm Funk has performed at a major sports event.

“We were the one of two house bands who performed Canada Hockey House during the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, so that was a really cool gig. We saw lots of hockey players, and the Stanley Cup. That was absolutely insane. It was amazing.”

Five Alarm Funk has made a few tours across Canada.

“It breaks my heart that we’ve never been to Newfoundland, I mean holy moly,” said Walsh. “But, we’ve been out to Nova Scotia and back like almost every year for six years, so Five Alarm Funk has been doing a pretty good job.”

Walsh started his music career by picking up jobs across Canada, in the army and on cruise ships.

When he decided to settle in Vancouver, he was substituting in a Latin orchestra band before asking to audition for Five Alarm Funk. - Advertiser

"Five Alarm Funk threw a hell of a party at Divan Orange (photos)"

Five Alarm Funk
Divan Orange
July 17, 2015

Vancouver’s Five Alarm Funk know how to throw a party. Combining elements of funk, afro-beat, rock, and hip hop, the band played a wild show at Divan Orange this past week, with support from Montreal’s Cafe Racer. Below you can check out photos from both sets courtesy of Vitor Munhoz. For tour dates and more info, visit - Bad Feeling Mag

"Five Alarm Funk to play PNE homecoming show on August 29"

t’s been a busy summer for Vancouver’s groovester ensemble Five Alarm Funk. The Juno-nominated nine-piece band have been touring across Canada non-stop all summer long, playing over 23 shows within 25 days (including an appearance at the Pan Am Games) in support of their latest effort and fifth studio album, “Abandon Earth” — the critically acclaimed concept record about the destruction of the planet by a tyrannical robot.

Earlier this year, Five Alarm Funk joined forces with local animation company Atomic Cartoons to develop a full-length movie based on Abandon Earth. The project is the first of its kind for Atomic Cartoons and is part of the studio’s continuous effort to keep producing innovative and creative concepts. The inaugural piece of the collaboration is the video for “Robot,” which was released in June. Combining live action footage, green screen technology and 3D/AFX techniques, the video follows the band into the dark depths of Earth as they try to survive impending doom at the hands of the killer robot.

If you can’t wait for the next installment of the movie, fear not: Five Alarm Funk are gearing up to come home from their travels on August 29 for a performance at the Pacific National Exhibition as part of the Mosaic Series. Tickets are available online - VanCity Buzz

"Five Questions with Five Alarm Funk"

Dynamo contributor Thad got to squeeze in a quick Q+A with powerhouses Five Alarm Funk around the time of their killer Tall Tree set. Here is Five Questions with Five Alarm Funk!

Betty & Kora: You guys are coming into your 12th year as a band, having released 5 albums in that time, what can you guys attribute to being the keys to your success?

Five Alarm Funk: I think our success and longevity comes from constant creativity and innovation in our music. We’re always looking for new ways to write and perform, which keeps the fresh, alive and having fun.

BK: It’s a pretty rare thing to see a band of 9 people, how has it been organizing, writing, and performing with so many people involved?

FAF: Bands of any size are hard to organize. Our system is very simple though and keeps everyone on the same page. We write in small groups then bring the music into the rehearsal and everyone gets to add there own input to it. Everyone has there own job designations within the band. GM, Tour Manager, Design, Merch, Finances, Drivers, Chef etc. We all work for the greater good of the group.

BK: Your music and live show is pretty high energy, where do you guys gather the inspiration for your writing process?

FAF: I think it all comes down to having fun. We’re inspired by positive energy and creating an atmosphere where we and the fans can let go. The energy is addicting, the more you give, the more you get. In the writing process, we know we’re writing to create this.

BK: Your most recent album, AbandonEarth, puts forward the concept of our planet being destroyed by a giant robot, is there any underlying or subliminal messages to be found?

FAF: The underlying message of AbandonEarth is that power, greed and industry is destroying the natural world. This is our fantastical way of showing global warming in its apocalyptic stage.

BK: You guys tour quite extensively, how have you seen the festival scene evolve in your time as a band?

FAF: The festival scene has boomed since we first started touring extensively. We’ve scene the rise of many smaller independent fests that have blossomed into renowned events. It’s inspiring as an artist to have the possibilities to present yourself to crowds who might not necessarily see you - Betty And Kora

"Music this week: Jonathan Richman, Red Truck concert series and Andrea Bocelli"

Red Truck Parking Lot Concert Series

Red Truck Beer Company should have a fun summer. Last week, the brewery, which operated in North Vancouver for the past 10 years, officially opened its impressive new digs in East Van, complete with a beer ’n’ burger joint. And this week, the beermakers host the first of four parking lot concerts. Saturday’s show is all about funky grooves with Five Alarm Funk headlining, and Tonye Aganaba, Kutapira and DJ Vinyl Ritchie sharing the bill. (Happening once a month through September, upcoming acts include The Trews, No Sinner, Good For Grapes, Head of the Herd and country singer Logan Mize.)

June 13, 6 p.m. (also July 11, Aug. 15, and Sept. 12) | Red Truck Brewery Parking Lot (295 E. 1st Ave.)

Tickets: $35,

Read more: - Vancouver Sun

"One of the finest funk groups hits the city as Vancouver band plays the Queen's tonight"

One of the country's finest funk groups hits the Queen's Hotel tonight.
Vancouver's Five Alarm Funk brings its dynamo horn and percussion sound to Nanaimo for a show that promises to shake up audiences.
The 10-member group has toured North America several times over.
These musicians have a jolting sound that will change the way you think about funk, but the live show encroaches on contemporary dance as much as it is a music show.
Five Alarm Funk is promoting its third full-album release Anything is Possible, which came out last summer and has since been rocking the air waves of independent radio stations across the country.
The band has experienced a seriously diverse evolution over the past six years, complete with three very different sounding albums. The first CD had some seriously heavy African jazz and funk infused in most tracks.
The band followed this album with Voodoo Hairdo and its significant Latin influence.
Anything is Possible steers towards more of a smorgasbord of influences, including hip hop and even surf rock.
Five Alarm Funk has pushed the boundaries of the funk genre and have chiseled themselves an elaborate and distinctive sound.
"At times, people wonder if we can even call it funk anymore," said Dameian Walsh of the horn section. "I guess it's modern funk, it's the way the genre needed to grow."
The band has been doing short weekend tours with this being the last one before members pack up for a five-week cross-country trek that will see them reach Halifax before turning around and heading home. They will also hit locations like Fort St. John, which they've never played before, Walsh said.
Anything is Possible has a high-energy sound, largely because the band recorded most of it live, collectively, in the studio, as opposed to laying down individual tracks. A few of the horns were over dubbed later, along with accentuating sounds using a triangle or bongo drum.
"We tried to get as much as possible on tape from feeding off one another," Walsh said. "Sometimes you get a great studio sound, but he energy plateaus, so we tried to break through that."
Derek Spalding is a reporter and columnist for the Daily News. He can be reached at - Nanaimo Daily News

"Celebrate First Night with Five Alarm Funk"

First Night, Whistler’s legendary New Year’s Eve celebration, is a well known alcohol-free event, but participants should expect a little “mind altering” this year, thanks to mainstage performers Five Alarm Funk.

The Vancouver-based collective is made up of 10 talented musicians who play a horn-powered and percussion-fuelled genre-defying mix of Afro, Latin, jazz, funk and progressive (prog) rock.

“When we first got together almost seven years ago, we were really very influenced by Afro beat and funk,” said Tayo Branston, the group’s drummer and vocalist. “We were seven players and we had no horns back then.”

Those seven original members still remain, but the band and its sound have expanded somewhat since those days.

“Over time, as we got older, we started experimenting with new styles,” he said. “Time has allowed us to evolve our sound and add other elements like prog rock and Latin.”

Despite having so many members, Five Alarm Funk doesn’t suffer from a “too-many-cooks” syndrome when creating songs.

“The songs are written by the ten of us,” he said. “We practice about twice a week and everyone brings ideas in. The great thing is there are no borders to what we have to play.”

For Branston, it’s a process he enjoys.

“Really it is about having a good time,” he said. “Sure, we may have little disagreements about things, but it is all for the greater good. So, everyone brings stuff in, and we see if it works, and if it does, we go with it. Creatively it’s great because you always have nine or 10 other guys working on the song, moving it along.”

Five Alarm Funk’s live shows are near legendary as well, with the band members often sporting wacky costumes and performing choreographed arm movements to coincide with melodies and musical climaxes.

“That all started more spontaneously,” he said. “But audiences picked up on it, and it started becoming a part of the show.”

Branston said the band’s latest album, Anything is Possible, released in July, finally captures the vivacious energy of a Five Alarm Funk live show.

“We liked our studio albums, but we really wanted to do what we do live on an album,” he said. “So we basically recorded it live like a show and did some minimal overdubs and extra tweaks.”

Of course, why settle for listening to their album when you can see them live Friday (Dec. 31) on the main Village Square stage for Whistler’s First Night?

The alcohol-free evening promotes a “Celebration of the Arts,” featuring a full program of great live music, storytelling, art workshops, street entertainment and fireworks for New Year’s revellers of all ages.

Wander the Village and marvel at street entertainers and craft workshops, or discover some of the talented local musicians, actors, comedians and visual artists that make Whistler such a unique resort.

Kids can enjoy the Creative Zone in the Whistler Conference Centre with clowns, jugglers, mural painting, crafts and more. Older kids (19 and under) can check out the Youth Zone’s First Night Club in the Conference Centre featuring the MuchMusic Dance Party.

The family friendly evening festivities get underway Friday at 6:30 p.m. Advance tickets are $15 adults, $8 for kids 12 years and under. On Friday, ticket prices go up to $20 for adults and $10 for kids 12 and under. Kids age 2 and under get in for free.

First Night also offers a 9:30 p.m. countdown for the younger partiers in the crowd that can't quite last until the actual stroke of midnight. For more info and a full First Night schedule, go to - Whistler Question

"Five Alarm Funk"

Easily the best straight funk monolith I've witnessed in years, Vancouver, BC's Five Alarm Funk rushed in with massive energy that they never let drop for a millisecond, taking their role as warm-up for festival organizers Flowmotion seriously and turning on the audience with sweaty intent. Ten or more deep on the small stage, they wheeled and leapt with an enthusiasm for their genre that demolished all the half-ass, vaguely canned efforts that purport to be 'funk.' As much a workout as a performance, Five Alarm's set made folks howl and jitterbug with an intensity that left one damp and satisfied on a cellular level. -

"Five Alarm Funk Anything is Possible"

"Welcome to the sunny shores of Five Alarm Funk, where anything is possible." This is how you shall be greeted upon reaching the Fantasy Island these genre-straddling Vancouver hipsters have founded somewhere off of BC's wet coast. Afro-beat meets Miami heat as the Five Alarm Funk orchestra rips the roof off the sucker and fills the interior with honey sweet horns and Patato percussion. King Khan would most certainly tip his fez to their balls-to-the-wall sound, although FAF is more accustomed to traveling via El Camino as opposed to tiny Shriner mobile.
Cover art depicting a silverback gorilla accosting a great white shark gives some insight into the humour and aggression that battle for supremacy on this album. Blaring brass shoulders aside shekere shimmies, only to be overrun by screaming guitars and guttural bass riffs as the band's come-hither funk slides into stealth mode and hops the fence into hardcore territory.
From the opening cut "Infernal Monologue," with its angelic aura furnished by the Vancouver Bach Children's Choir to the Otis-has-left-the-building devastation of "Zenith Escalator," Anything is Possible is a dynamic yet impressively cohesive album. Crowded bridges, James Brown-inspired vocals and manic energy add up to one hell of a dance party: think Fela Kuti, Frank Zappa and Tito Puente in the Playboy Mansion's grotto and you're halfway home. - Beatroute

"Funk Turns It Up to 11 and Goes"

Vancouver's Five Alarm Funk chose its name for a reason, and the 11-piece rhythm squad plans to deliver a wake-up call at Evolve Festival tonight as it takes the crowd past the witching hour.
Aside from the fact that the large ensemble will take up a lot of the space on the festival's Sunflower Stage in the field outside Antigonish, guitarist Oliver Gibson says its 10:45 p.m. set is designed to grab the audience's attention from the get-go.
"The show starts with a bang, so you want to make sure you catch us from start to finish. We just turn it up to 11 and go," Gibson says during a stop en route to the Maritimes for Evolve, which continues through Sunday.
"I don't want to reveal too much, but I will say we have a strong relationship with confetti cannons now."
With four horns, four percussionists, two guitars and bass, Five Alarm Funk has enough experience invested in its grooves to keep an audience going for hours, but Gibson says they enjoy adding extra touches like eye-catching costumes and onstage antics inspired by the live shows of the Flaming Lips.
The band hasn't tried to replicate Wayne Coyne's feat of walking over the crowd in a giant inflatable plastic bubble, but Gibson says they came close once when playing the closing night for the Vancouver club Richard's on Richards. "Our timebales player, Carl, decided to try couch surfing," he recalls. "He got an inflatable couch and dove out onto the crowd. He did well for about 30 seconds, and then he actually fell off into the crowd and nobody caught him so he dislocated his shoulder. He ended up missing half of the show, but he was the first one to the after party."
Five Alarm Funk's sense of fun extends to its music, with mostly instrumental jams like Cave of the Gypsy Troll and Uncle Meatball combining Tower of Power-style sonic oomph with Afro-beat drive on its third CD, Anything Is Possible, which sports a cover image of a gorilla battling a shark. "That's the way we approach our music, we all come from different backgrounds and we just never say no,"explains Gibson. "If you're writting some music and it sounds good, then that's all that matters. We have lots of different styles colliding. We started out sounding like James Brown meets Fela Kuti, and now it's more like Frank Zappa meets a hurricane of noise and metal and rhythm. As long as we're smiling, then I think we're doing something great."
The versatility works well with audiences. last week Five Alarm Funk was voted CBC Galaxie Rising Star award winner at Sunfest in London, Ont.,and Gibson admits the prize money will come in handy with getting an 11-piece band across the country. He says it also helps that the lineup has been fairly solid over the last three years, although he reckons the band has gone through 25 different horn players in total, but any change usually brings in new influences and keeps things interesting for the musicians and their listeners.
"We're never afraid to try something new, which is important because people do have pretty short attention spans. You don't want to keep regurgitating the same song structures and the same kind of feel over and over again. For this third album, I think we've worked out a really good method, which is recording as live as possible with minimal overdubs and just a helluva lot of energy. And I think it's translates really well to the stage." - The Halifax Chronicle Herald

"Five Alarm Funk: Anything Is Possible"

In the course of three CDs, Five Alarm Funk certainly has broadened its scope. If the first album was derivative of its inspiration - African jazz and funk a la Fela - and the second introduced a forceful rock with latin influences - a la early Santana - this one embraces ska (Doctor Child), classical, hip hop, even surf guitar. Predominantly instrumental, Anything Is Possible has the 11 strong Five Alarm Funk flexing muscles that developed as a result of touring and organizing its sound onstage every night. It's a confident progression. - The Province

"Five Alarm Funk — Anything Is Possible"

The front cover of Five Alarm Funk’s latest album shows a silverback gorilla and great white shark about to engage in fierce battle, eyes ablaze and teeth gnashing. This seems a clever ruse though, because behind the scenes the two are quite close and appear to make beautiful music together. With Gorilla’s brute strength and ability to command attention and Shark’s sleek swimming groove and relentless bite, they’re able to create a party that’s nearly unstoppable.
Welcome to a world where anything is possible. Impressive is a band who can capture on record just a hint of how exhaustingly exciting they are as a live entity and this is what local afro-funk and everything else ten-piece, Five Alarm Funk has done. With a knack for setting stages ablaze and laying waste to dance floors from coast to coast Five Alarm once again deeply impress with their incredible energy and refusal to slow up the pace until the last notes have dimmed. Anything is Possible comes on sweetly with the Vancouver Bach Children’s Choir setting the stage of “Infernal Monologue,” and then 30 seconds on the band chimes in with a brassed out heavy metal intro. From there until the end it’s a dance party full of latin grooves, afro-beats, prog-rock and a soaring jazz-funk vibe that promises movement of the body for all but the most emotionally crippled. Fans of Five Alarm will be overjoyed with this record and the live promises it brings, and newcomers prepare yourself for an epic funk-battle! - Discorder

"Five Alarm Funk — Anything Is Possible"

ALBUM: Anything Is Possible
LABEL: Independent
RATING: 4.5 / 5
Test results won't come back for several weeks, but preliminary reports indicate that Anything Is Possible, the third studio album from Vancouver's 11-member outfit Five Alarm Funk, is a potent mind-altering substance. We're talking the kind of drug that hits you in seconds. Symptoms include euphoria, involuntary head bopping and toe tapping, compulsive hip-twisting, and possibly even skanking. There is no known cure.

The album's active ingredients include Afrobeat, funk, rock, jazz and ska, to name a few. A gleeful exuberance shines through on every tune.

The band's audacity smacks you upside the head on the first track, "Infernal Monologue," featuring the Vancouver Bach Children's Choir and a fiendish prog-rock guitar groove. "Zenith Escalator" establishes the album's funk factor (not to mention the legitimacy of the band's name) with frenetic poly-rhythmic guitars and percussion, a vocal line sounding like James Brown on a double dose of Captain Beefheart, and an infectious, churning baritone sax lick.

"Titan" offers a rusty old snake-charming guitar groove coaxing out a snappy Zappa-esque horn section. The sad, jazzy texture of "Soft Six" is made more sad by the plaintive pout of an accordion. A Tarantino film guitar riff triggers an infectious ska groove on "Doctor Child." And "Broadway," a nifty slice of funk metal, illustrates what any conscientious band can achieve with three excellent guitarists.

So have a listen to this richly textured, Afrobeat funk rock on 'roids album and submit to the shaking of any body part that's not tied down. Even long after you're finished listening, you'll still be shaking. Like an addict in withdrawal. - Chartattack

"Raucous crowd bids fond, crazy farewell to Richard's on Richards"

They were partying like there was no tomorrow Sunday night at Richard's on Richards.
And there wasn't.
After almost three decades as one of Vancouver's premier live-music nightspots, "Dick's on Dicks," as it's also known, hosted its last concert and is about to be torn down and replaced by condos.
Two high-energy local bands, Star Captains and headliners Five Alarm Funk, gave Richard's a raucous sendoff. It even got so wild that one band member was injured.
Guys in gorilla suits were dancing and passing out bananas among the crowd as the night at the club became more like Night at the Museum. What's that about?
"It's the last night; we're going bananas!" said production manager Rob Foort, who, having worked at Richard's since 1992, is the longest-serving employee of the club that opened in 1982.
The five-piece instrumental-rock Star Captains warmed up the sold-out crowd nicely, and by the time 12-piece Five Alarm Funk was into their lightning-fast, impossibly tight grooves, the booming music and bouncing fans had Richard's long,
curving balcony and brick-wall backdrop shaking and ready to crumble a few days before the wrecking ball does its job.
The place was heating up, literally and figuratively. The outrageous Five Alarm band members, who came out as usual in all manner of hats and strange outfits, stripped down to their shorts and sprayed the crowd and each other with water pistols and
bottles to cool off.
Then things got weird.
Drummer Tayo Branston, the frontman of the band, dedicated a song to the garden at his Dunbar home. (No, he doesn't seem like your typical Dunbar gardener.) Timbales player Carl Julig put a large blow-up red couch over his head to signify a
tomato, then had the brilliant idea of surfing the crowd on the thing. But the fans couldn't keep him balanced and he took a hard fall to the ground. And you thought couch surfing was a safe, restful activity.
Julig tried to stretch out the wrist and elbow injuries and continue playing but he couldn't last more than one song and had to leave the stage for the remainder of the show.
The band, down to a mere 11 members, played on — and so will Richard's, eventually, at a new location.
While the staff is sad to see the old place go, they're upbeat about the new digs, the former A&B Sound building at 556 Seymour.
Foort promises the yet-to-be-named new club will be "bigger and better."
"This place is going to have the same impact on the city that Richard's did in 1982," the sound guru said of the plans for the multi-use, three-storey facility set to open in October or November.
The floor space increases from 6,000 square feet in the old building to about 27,000, where a design and production team envision a combination of art and entertainment, with corporate functions to help pay the bills during the day.
Foort, 50, who met his wife Jeannie at Richard's, has so many fond memories of his 17 years at the club he doesn't know where to start: Two nights of the Black Eyed Peas with Justin Timberlake sitting in and Wesley Snipes in the audience.
"Over the top."
Queens of the Stone age with Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters, Nirvana) on drums. "So intense."
"There was Matthew Good, Wynton Marsalis, Franz Ferdinand, Pat Benatar, George Thorogood, Maceo Parker ... it's hard to name them all."
Then his cheerful mood turned more melancholy.
"It hasn't really hit me yet that this place going; maybe in a couple of weeks the tears will come."
His eyes seemed a little moist already. - The Province

"An 800 pound gorilla of a show"

Think back to the gold medal men's hockey game at the Vancouver Olympic Games. Remember the energy fuelling the ready-to-burst Canada Place? Cue Five Alarm Funk.

The 11-member ensemble that played immediately after Canada won gold has a reputation for bringing a dance party wherever they go. Recently back from their first tour in Asia which took them through the Keelung City Mid-Summer Ghost Festival in Taiwan, the group maintains an attitude synonymous with the title of their third and latest studio album, Anything is Possible.

"Playing right in front of the neon temple in Taiwan, with it just glowing behind us, was amazing. We gave everything, going over the top for the crowd and to appease the Buddha," explains conga player Tom Towers.

The band even set up an onstage duel between a gorilla and a shark, the inspiration behind the album, to Taiwan.

"The gorilla costume in Taiwan's heat was self-inflicted torture," Towers laughs. "I think it's had its run for a while. I dunno if we'll bring out the gorilla in Edmonton; it might be time to put it away."

Nevertheless, whether they're in Taiwan, at the Winter Olympics, or on tour, Five Alarm Funk knows how to play it loud and ham it up. Improv is a big part of both their live shows and the albums.

"Once, when it was raining," Towers continues, "one of the guys grabbed an umbrella and started dancing with it […] and soon enough, it became part of the show."

Drawing on world rhythms, funk, and various influences including Frank Zappa, J.S. Bach, and Antibalas, their tracks have a certain rhythm to them, and their Myspace page describes themselves as "an unstoppable orgy of energy." So things can get pretty hot at their shows.

"Once we went to this guy's party after doing a sweat-box of a show, and he had a sauna," says Towers. "I was like, 'Really? A sauna? I just came from a sauna!' But then I was like, 'I'll give 'er 10 minutes, I guess.'?"

"To be honest," Towers says, "after a show, it takes a while to come down. You're just so amped up."

Even if the adrenaline doesn't wear off, it definitely pays off. Five Alarm Funk took away the Galaxie Music Rising Star Prize and $5,000 at the TD Sunfest in London, Ont. this summer. With so many outstanding performances behind them, Towers hesitates to pick a favourite memory but finally narrows it down.

"Playing at the end of the International Jazz Festival in David Lam Park in Vancouver," he decides. "After seeing Antibalas, one of our major influences — and then to look out on the crowd in the city I grew up in — was something else."

While Antibalas is among the many inspirations for their funk fusion afro-beats, the muse for their album is the encounter between the impossible: a great white shark and a silverback gorilla. The spontaneity and suspense of that moment just before the two monsters meet is the vibe that rings true throughout their album.

"Once you open the case," Towers says, "the gorilla and the shark deliver the punch line." - The Gateway

"Anything is Possible for Five Alarm Funk"

YALETOWN- Vancouver’s soul supergroup Five Alarm Funk didn’t let a grim and gloomy sky stop them from entertaining an enthusiastic crowd at Yaletown’s David Lam Park Sunday, July 4. During the free performance, which was the second stop on a 60-day summer tour -and managed to serve double duty as both closeout to the Vancouver International Jazz Festival and CD-release show for their 3rd album, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE, the spastic 11-piece proved themselves yet again to be one of the most infectious and energetic groups in the city. And the crowd, though initially slow to respond, was soon swept up in the frenzied fusion of afrobeat, disco, rock, and funk that has made the group so popular for the past six years. Soon, everyone in the audience was on their feet and moving; youth, parents, grandparents, children, the eight skilled hula-hoopers who took up residence stage right, and, of course, the peculiar older gentleman in the sweat-suit whose dance-moves seemed to resemble a bizarre sort of hyperspeed tai-chi. For their part, Five Alarm Funk did not disappoint, whether musically, or when it came to their usual style of caffeine-fuelled showmanship, including synchronized, off-the-cuff dance-moves (fist-pumps, leg-kicks, and club-style chest-bumps), Village-people-inspired costumes (The Jock, The Cowboy, The Construction Worker, and, of course, The Hipster) the comedy antics and mid-song costume-changes of percussionists Tom Towers, Justin Kennedy, and Carl Julig, and even -as a final, hurrah, a glitter cannon.

Most tracks featured hailed from ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE, though, for diehard fans, several older tracks were played, such as ‘Demons, Begone’, and the heavily-syncopated “United”. But, unquestionably, the highlight of the show was the surf-inspired “Dr. Child”, a guitar-heavy funk orgasm that featured, among other things, an epic, onstage battle between a gorilla and a shark. The stunt, which featured costumed performers enacting all manner of dancelike martial-arts moves on each other, was, according to drummer and spokesman Tayo Branston, more than just a simple stage antic; it was, in fact, the inspiration for the group’s entire 3rd album.

“If you believe that these two could meet under any circumstances,” he said, his voice growling like a preacher on steroids, “then truly, anything is possible, and that means that we can be here with you, and have a funky-ass good time any time we want.”

As the band closed out their nearly 90-minute set with a cheeky, horn-filled rendition of Europe’s classic “The Final Countdown” (to much applause, and including the aforementioned Glitter Cannon), and set the howling crowd to dancing all over again, it became clear that Five Alarm Funk is in no danger of slowing down, and remains capable of and committed to, in Branston’s words, “continuing our mission to bring you the best goddamn time you ever had.” - The Dependent


Abandon Earth - 2014

Rock The Sky - 2012

Anything Is Possible - 2010
Voodoo Hairdoo - 2008
Five Alarm Funk - 2006



Hot, sweaty dance floors with feet stomping and every body moving. Grooves for days. Monster horns and shredding psych-rock guitars. Oh, and giant killer robots. Let’s not forget about those.

These are among the elements that make up the Five Alarm Funk experience. The Vancouver-based band is nine men strong and over a decade deep into a career that has seen it release five acclaimed albums and burn up stages across the country on four national tours. And this vehicle isn’t about to slow down. In fact, Five Alarm Funk is just picking up steam.

Don’t be fooled by the name: there’s more to Five Alarm Funk than, well, funk. Just ask drummer Tayo Branston, who says that, although they are rooted in the style that gives the outfit its name, he and his bandmates thrive on being able to transcend that genre by seamlessly mixing in elements of Gypsy rock, Latin music, ska, and even prog-metal. “I would say that it’s intense, passionate, and fun, genre-spanning music that really anybody can get onboard with,” Tayo says. “It’s got such an array of different sounds, and you can tell that each player has his own individual take and input into each track.”

Need proof? Take a listen to any of Five Alarm Funk’s studio albums, which include Anything Is Possible (winner of Instrumental Album of the Year at the 2011 Western Canadian Music Awards) and Rock the Sky (which was nominated for Instrumental Recording of the Year at the 2013 WCMAs and Instrumental Album of the Year at that year’s Juno Awards.)

FAF’s fifth studio LP, released last June, is the hard-rocking Abandon Earth. Produced by Ben Kaplan (Mother Mother, Biffy Clyro), Abandon Earth is a concept record about the destruction of Earth by a giant tyrannical robot. Abandon Earth has once again been nominated for the Western Canadian Music Award for Instrumental Recording of the Year, with Kaplan also garnering nominations for his engineering and production.

The band took the album’s Balkan-inspired horns, prog-metal six-string shredding, and ambitious, cinematic arrangements on tour across Canada and into the United States in the summer of 2014. And the road goes ever on. Five Alarm Funk will hit the studio again this winter, with a new record slated for next spring, and after that? Well, the plan is to take on the entire planet, but FAF will be happy to get the party started in the U.S. And Europe. Not to mention Australia and New Zealand.

“If we can capture those audiences like we’ve captured Canada, I think the band would have a huge opportunity to make year-long tours happen,” Tayo says. “We love to play!”