Watermelon
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Watermelon

New York City, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013

New York City, New York, United States
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Rock Funk

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As the songs of the summer slow their rotation (so help us if we have to hear “Blurred Lines” one more time...), it’s safe to say we’re all itching for some fresh tunes. Here are a few up-and-coming New Yorkers to reenergize your ear buds.

If you like ’90s Red Hot Chili Peppers Before you get all judgey, here us out. The guys and girl of Watermelon are seriously fun. Two chords into “YOWWYCH,” we were hooked. Download the group’s recent album, Sleepover, and thank us after your dance party. - PureWow


The Brooklyn Bowl hosted what I can only describe as a funky, hop around, head bob, all smiles, fantastic ride last Thursday, July 11. The Main Squeeze, a funkadelic no-worries high energy jam band from Illinois, tore down the house along with their friends Watermelon ft. The Verb and Kwame Darko. The night started off with with bodies slathered in glow paint, moved into a series of fire alarm-interrupted sets with shredding guitar solos, and ended with tons of hype.

Watermelon began the night in full neon body paint. When I say full, I mean, full, it covered most of the band's bodies and let me tell you, these dudes really knew how to get loose and dance to their own sound.

They reside right here in New York City and have a sound I can only describe as funky-hip-hop-rock-n-roll. It's like when a rap artists decides he can play rock and roll and it turns out to be terrible. Watermelon is the opposite of that. This is a funk band that can dip their toes into hip-hop, do it organically, and do it very well.

Don't get me wrong though, they clearly came from funk origins. It's pretty transparent that the band has a diverse set of influences affecting their music. In addition, visually, these guys, and one gal, are so fun to watch.

I especially liked Alex Stewart, the lead vocals, because the man can really groove effortlessly with the rhythm. I hadn't heard anything recorded from them before going to the show, but I can imagine that if I did, I'd want to hear it live even more. They're one of those bands who's energy needs to be seen in person and not masked behind a digital mp3.

Unfortunately, I only got to see a song or two of Watermelon by themselves, but the guests they brought out only made the show that much better. Stewart called out MH The Verb for a couple of hip-hop infused songs, but first they performed a classic.

The Verb yelled to the crowd “who likes the Beatles?!” which totally surprised me at first, but after they played “Don't Let Me Down” I was blown away at the fusion between the two musicians. After, the music got faster and The Verb spit verses over a couple of funky instrumentals before calling out yet another guest, Kwame Darko.

Kwame Darko really pulled the whole act together with his pacing. Not only was he delivering lyrics at a quick rate, he was doing it with record quality. I know a lot of rappers that can spit fast, but sort of blur their words together when it comes to a live performance.

Not these dudes.

The Verb and Kwame Darko had a constant flow all while maintaining stage presence, aka, jumping around and getting the crowd hyped up. These were the kind of songs that have quick sets of lyrics by the two rappers and then pull back at the chorus to allow for a slow summer-time jam melody to break up verses. Kwame performed an entire song to himself, which was really impressive, and the whole band performed “Beautiful Thing,” which has an awesome chorus as well as great lyrics.

Danny Dahan had an intense hand slapping bass solo that lasted for what seemed like minutes. It was awesome to see, considering Dahan had been pretty minimal as far as stage presence went but then jumped out during this solo and really went wild with it. His pants really only helped his cause. At this point, The Verb was in the crowd dancing around waving a towel, a sign for a good night to come.

Watermelon signed off reminding everyone that we had it pretty good with “F'in bowlin, F'in drinking, and F'in hot ladies and I'm just happy to be a part of it.”

Cheers to that sir. - CHARGED.fm


This local funk rock band has a fascinating approach to some genre combinations I do not hear often–at least the way they do it. They play funky beat oriented lounge jazz rock, and can take that concept into some bold extremes. There are frequent dual vocal parts for male and female. Imagine Ashford and Simpson working with the Contortions or Arto Lindsay going crazy Eddie Hazel style. This is daring gutsy music that dares to alienate different sides of the equation. I am not sure I would want to hear this every day, but it is a welcome kick in the pants much of the time. I hope they do not lose the jagged edges, for if they were to soften the blows, they would sound like too many other bands. I definitely plan to catch them live again some time soon.

Songs to try out first:

YOWWYCH – You can decide pretty quickly in this opening cut of whether you will get into this. Once the guitarist started wailing away, I was hooked.

Fishes – Good mixture of funk and rock guitar with a strong vocal workout and vibrant pace.

Cooke – A powerful long number with a dramatic build, particularly with the vocals. - DC Rock Live


It’s aliiiiiive!! Fantastic news, DC denizens, the local music scene lives, despite constant suggestion by the rest of the country to the contrary. Saturday night at the Fillmore was a seriously impressive testament to its vivacity, a newborn baby wailing a funk-laden assurance in response to a doctor’s smack on the ass. (Akon should probably be included in this metaphor as well, but it got a little cumbersome.)



Watermelon bucked the male-only trend for their five-piece funk outfit, and then triumphantly celebrated the release of their first full-length album, Sleepover. The only band of the evening that I’d seen play before, they started with full-court-press energy; vocalist Stewie was doing push-ups on stage and attempting to incite the crowd… during soundcheck. Their music, however, is perhaps the least immediately accessible of the three bands that had played thus far, with its wall of noise that slaps you across the face while the characters on stage giving you the beating break down in awesomely weird shimmies, sashays, and red-geisha-pantsed donkey kicks. The audience seemed to take in the first few songs in awe before Stewie descended into the crowd to basically demand that they meet his energy. And so they did, turning the set into a beautiful romping mess of bodies and sounds. The easy highlight was “Cooke,” an intricate aural orgasm of a slowdown number that had singer Jules Barringer sounding like Norah Jones, which yielded into “YOWWYCH,” a classic funk powerhouse that showcases the best employment of Watermelon’s dual singer method.
For the first time in days I forgot that I was sick. - Brightest Young Things


Looking for the next MGMT? Watermelon’s neon funk blends classic New York noise like ESG with dynamic call-and-response male/female vocal interplay. The result is Anthony Kiedis falling off the wagon with David Byrne backstage at CBGB in ‘77 before heading over to Max’s for a serious dance party. The pulsing wah-wah guitar of “Go” leaves no questions: Watermelon are here, and they’re ready to get you sweatier than a Le Tigre dance party and a nose full of candy. - VICE


Can we have some funk? Watermelon has some new funk music that you need to get down to. With some tasty bass and poppin’ drums this band really brings the funk. They have one thing in mind, and that is to make you dance.

Playing in the same vein as The Red Hot Chili Peppers and P-Funk (AKA The Parliament Funkadelic, or just plain Parliament), these guys blend rock and funk to make a groovy sound that anyone can dig. Originally from Brooklyn, see Watermelon strut their stuff uptown, downtown, crowned and renowned (as the brilliant Rudy Ray Moore would say) all over NYC.

Watermelon just released their self-titled EP and is available for download, so check it out. Now get up and get down with “Go” from their EP. - Seeds The Hypetree Blog


Watermelon - The 'headliner' from New York is up next and has the same instrumentation, although there are male and female vocalists up front. They are locally born and bred for the most part and play here often, although this is the first time I've taken in their set. And it is also in the funk/R&B vein. There are some changes here from what I first heard tonight. First, the twin vocals work extremely well as often is the case. The female lead is the better up-front vocal with great power and control. The male voice is softer but harmonizes well, creating a really rich sound. The instrumentation breathes a bit more and the sounds are livelier. They avoid the trappings of the genre, by branching out a bit into a blues rocker, "Whipping Post" (with a guest guitarist I think--I was way in the back and didn't see the full stage). They also did a cool cover of Led Zeppelin's "What is and What Should Never Be". This is an interesting band that is worth a listen. But if your feet want to move then don't think too hard, just check out their set. - DC ROCK LIVE


Usually I have a structured process when choosing a band or artist for my weekly highlight. However, this week, Watermelon just fell into my lap. I had the pleasure of attending a show at a bar in Adams Morgan, Washington DC and was blown away by the energy they all exerted. The singing was almost flawless and the funky/dancy sound brought such a positive energy to the crowd. - Headstash.com


Discography

Sleepover
Watermelon EP

Photos

Bio

Watermelon is fresh.

Stationed in the heart of New York City, Watermelons unique sound is formed from the dynamic interplay of two lead vocalists and an upbeat trio of drums, guitar and bass. Their sound has been called raucous rock and roll with a punch of funk and undertones of hip hop. While the bands spirit can be traced to the revelry and camaraderie of bands like Sly and the Family Stone, Watermelon does not shy away from a menagerie of diverse musical influences. At the start of 2013, Watermelon released the full length album, Sleepover. With eight energetic and powerful songs, the group shows their ability to breach into the domain of funk rock. According to Mikey Asserrad of VICE, Watermelon blends classic New York noise likes ESG with dynamic call-and-response male/female vocal interplay. Watermelons roots are planted firm in funk driven rock. Having performed hundreds of shows since 2010, and with an arsenal of singles already under their belts, the band has enjoyed converting new fans at every live show. They have been a CMJ Official Selection, toured across the states and have radio play on over 40 radio stations across The United States and Canada.

Watermelon is fronted by Alex Stewart and Jules Barringer, two lead vocalists easily strong enough to stand on their own. These two are confident, and its addicting. Name a note, and theyll hit it. Expect to hear rock growls, rhythm and blues runs, and vocal ping pong. Most importantly, expect to hear the crowd scream back in astonishment when they hear big note after big note. Thomas Griffith is the guitarist in the band, and helps define the overall Watermelon style. Thomas guitar creations are fun, scratchy and rhythmic. He helps define Watermelons sound by adding in the very necessary layer of quick-strumming funk rock. While his guitar style is open, quick and loose, he is also a very technical guitarist, soloing with ease and doing it with a smile. Danny Dahan on bass and David Karr on drums are the engine of the band. With sharp snare hits and hypnotic drum kicks, David is the reason you cant avoid bobbing your head while listening to Watermelon. And Danny is the reason you shake your hips while bobbing your head. The two work seamlessly with Thomas' guitar tones to truly create fun, funky and original music.

When all of the pieces come together, Watermelon becomes something that engages any listener. Their music is inviting, entertaining, and invigorating. The countless years of jamming in basements, studying musical icons, taking vocal lessons and gigging across the country have added up to this. Watermelon is the full package. It is rare to hear a recorded song and think about how much of a blast it would be to hear live. With Watermelon, it is clear that they are a party in person. This is where Watermelon finds their success. The music easily penetrates the listeners psyche, and it is obvious that your hypnotic head-bobbing can seamlessly translate into a wickedly entertaining and exciting live show. Seeking to break down all barriers with the audience, Watermelon lives for the live experience.

Watermelon is infectious. Watermelon is music to shout in the shower and blast in your car. Like new water erupting from a pure spring, Watermelon is fresh.