DāM-FunK at the Casbah

CC: Matthew Scott

CC: Matthew Scott

By: Ryo Miyauchi 

The throwback funk records played by the house DJ died down around 11:30 p.m., and a radio dispatch began to air. “I’ll continue to broadcast this message in the event that someone is listening,” the voice announced, warped by heavy static. “If you are already receiving my message, you must already know that I cannot tell you the exact time, date or year of this broadcast.”

The message was the intro track, “Junie’s Transmission,” from DāM-FunK’s latest album, Invite the Light. The band’s bassist and drummer took their positions as the intro continued, and soon arrived DāM, sporting his Stussy gear and signature square shades. The show then finally kicked off with his new single “We Continue”, with its dank bass line and high-thread-count synths priming the crowd to start grooving.

Invite the Light as an album heavily showcases DāM-FunK’s eagerness to spread positivity, but the record’s uplifting experience isn’t complete until one witnesses DāM-FunK physically expressing the passion behind his messages. His hands said as much as his voice. He extended songs to shout lyrics composed on the spot to speak from his heart. His energy was on full display most during his keyboard solos, making the keys squeal while putting a proper stink face as he felt the notes.

His conviction shown through his performances also made one believe in his words of sincerity. The lyrics of hope in “Somewhere, Someday” may read too earnest for some on paper: “Somewhere, the sky is so much brighter there,” he assures. But the way he delivered the song through his commitment to performance, it was easy to take his words as the guiding force of the night to follow.

DāM-FunK broke away from the Invite the Light songs to bring out his trusted keytar. The crowd immediately pulled out their cellphones to photograph the man and his instrument. He then began to sing “Mirrors” from Toeachizown, with the mesmerizing vocoder mechanizing his voice. While the songs from Toeachizown feel like works of a studio rat on record, “Mirrors” came alive with life and color when DāM performed the single on stage.

After a couple other tracks from his past like one off his collaborative album with Snoop Dogg, 7 Days of Funk, DāM-FunK returned to the bags of Toeachizown to play an extended version of “I Wanna Thank You (for Stepping into My Life)” as a token of appreciation. “I want to thank you, San Diego,” he sang during his breakdown, and he reached out to the audience for fist bumps as the music faded away.

“Just kidding, San Diego, we’re not done yet,” DāM-FunK announced as he returned to his console. He then spoiled fans with some long-form treats, including “O.B.E.” from Invite the Light and his remix of Baron Zen’s “Burnt Rubber.” For the latter, he got off the stage to join the crowd in the middle of his keytar solo. Fans reached out to record the scene, some tapping away their own notes on DāM’s keytar. But DāM paid no mind at the commotion. He just let the funk continue.