Playing that funky music

François Lemieux
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West Island funk trio rock hard and do their part for the community

West Island funk trio Play 4 Keeps have shown they have heart since their inception over a year ago. Not only are they closely involved with the community organization West Island Community Shares (WICS), but they’re also giving back to the music community by doing something that’s unfortunately becoming rarer in the industry: playing fun, exciting music.

Funking away

Play 4 Keeps have a groove typical of funk in all of their songs, three of them you can listen to on www.reverbnation.com.

Their Beastie Boys influence shows heavily on a song like “Funk Away”, while they channel some Planet Smashers-type pop-sensibilities in their vocals on “Satisfy your heart.” On “Stay the night”, bassist Dimitri Lappos’mock high-pitched screaming back vocals embody the band’s irreverent attitude.

“We have studied funk. We have found that it has a beautiful awkwardness and sarcasm that we keep alive in our music. We mix it with rock and rap. Some have called it fusion funk, but funk rock or pop funk would also be appropriate to describe our sound,” believes Lappos, who hails from Kirkland.

The band also cites the Red Hot Chili Peppers and James Brown as major influences. Their funk is often driven by Lappos’ inventive bass lines. His sound is particular, to say the least, the bass synthesiser effect he uses making his parts sound like the soundtrack to an old video game at times. Lappos also uses a bass wah-wah and an overdrive but rarely misses a beat live despite having several floor pedals to work with.

On other songs like “Stay the night”, Beaconsfield Phil Boucher’s energetic guitar is the band’s locomotive as his jazz background with a Jimi Hendrix kick to it really pays off. The fact that Lappos and Boucher share vocal duties brings a lot of energy to the live show. Ile Perrot’s Chris P. Butz’s classical approach to drumming and own jazz background intertwined with Lappos slap-bass guitar style creates a unique mix.

It’s a long way to the top

“Ready to embark on a musical adventure,” sings Boucher on “Funk away.” The three twenty-something college students hope to ride this opportunity as far as it will take them.

After the release of their five-song EP called “Big Thunder Rumble” in June, the band has played 25 shows this summer including the Beaconsfield Battle of the Bands and the Kirkland Day battle of the bands, two competitions they won. They have also been played on the popular 94.7 Hits FM radio station.

When they’re not busy rocking the house, they’re busy helping out. The band approached WICS in the spring, asking if there was a possibility to help out. They agreed to donate 20 per cent of the proceeds made on CD sales and do benefit concerts whenever possible.

“What’s fantastic is that they have a following of youngsters so it makes WICS visible amongst West Island youth. We want to make sure West Island kids are aware there are needs here. There are notably 12,500 kids that we help through different organizations,” said WICS executive director Caroline Tison.

Play 4 Keeps’ next show will be a WICS benefit concert on Dec. 14 at Resto Bar Le Pionnier at 286 Lakeshore Rd. in Pointe Claire. Other West Island acts Radial Velocity, Blank Bullets, Creepin Daisy and Smokin’ Roaches will perform as well. The show kicks off at 8 p.m. and $5 gets you in. So here’s your chance to help Play 4 Keeps help WICS make a difference.

Geographic location: West Island

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