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Wednesday, December 7

Review: Orgone - The Top Hat - Misssoula, MT - 11/30/2011


It is the Last day of November, December, the snow, the cold, and a true Montana winter looming around the corner. What would you expect 120 plus people to be doing on that Wednesday night? Getting Funk’d up is what they were doing, Missoula, MT Top Hat Lounge style, and who would you expect to be playing at the Top Hat that night? Well it was Orgone, which quickly seems to be becoming Missoula’s favorite super funk band. I say super funk because Orgone is no normal funk band, they have extraordinary funk powers that can shake the world and music industry. We were all witness of this power on this beautiful night. Orgone an eight member band from Los Angeles, CA made their way up to Missoula once again. I even heard the Orgone bass player, while Picking his fro, tell a ready Missoula fan that he loves to play this town and loves the people, but then again what artist wouldn’t when that many people venture out on a Wednesday night and start partying as soon as they can. The show got to a late start kicking off around 11:50, but no worries Kung Fu Kongress, Missoula’s favorite local funk band, got the crowd, speakers, and energy all warmed up for what would be an epic jam/soul/funk session.

 Orgone kicked off the show in a major professional way. Only five of the eight members came out to start, this being the lead guitar man, your piano man, the bass man, drum man, and your tribal percussion man (In same order : Sergio Rios, Dan Hastie, Ethan Phillips, Sam Halterman, Stewart Killen). They went right into a super jam; it had some funk background, but truly was some super jam rock. I realized right then that this is why Missoula loves this band funk and jam all bundled into one party band that makes you gets down. After rocking it for about 10 minutes they brought on the trumpet (Devin Williams) and trombone player (Darren Cardoza) playing another jam but with the horns making it funkier then the song before. This 20 minute or so intro was a great build up to bringing out lead power soul singer Niki J Crawford. When she hit the stage it was a full on soulful funk show with her amazing vocals and range as well as being the puppeteer of making the crowd dance the night away. It was amazing to see this transition of all three songs; it seemed as if it was three different bands all with a different style of bringing some sort of funk to you. Orgone played the full band for a nice length of time playing versions of Its “What You do” and “Who Knows Who” before Niki left the stage again to let the band just straight up rock. This is where I personally had my musical happy climax during the next few songs where the band instrumentally jammed their faces off. Watching them work together is a perfect piece of art. Sergio is an axe man that you wouldn’t expect to be playing in a funk/soul band, but it is a magical fit. Sergio and Dan Hastie, who plays the piano, have insane rock n’ roll guitar-piano breakdown battles that will make you lose all train of thought, and then before you know it the horn men bring it back to funk land or the drummer and percussion bring it to tribal land. Either way the musical journey this band puts you on is first class. Niki then came back on to finish out the show, they got into some more crowd favorites such as Funk Nassau and wore the crowd down to its max. After about 1 hr 30 min of funk’in the crowd the encore came. It wasn’t what I expected, but exactly what I wanted. The band lead by Sergio on the guitar went somewhat darker and a little heavier funk creating new sounds wishing the crowd goodnight in a way only Missoula would want. 

 The dancing never stopped the whole night, and you can tell from how they move and use up energy on stage that is one of their biggest goals. They came to party and you are partying with them no questions asked. I have always highly respected a funk band that can create their own sound and write their own music, and Orgone proved to me they are one of the best around. Their years of playing with one another shows throughout the whole show with how smoothly they sound and how they can change from one funk style to another. Orgone is super funk, super rock, super jam, super soul, and just plan super talented. This band is made for festivals and crowds that want to have the night of their lives. Well Played Orgone, Well Played.

Words: Zach Nelson of MissoulaLive
Photo:  Kevin Kenly