Magic number: For band and Lakers, it's 4

Southside Funk Brothers
at Orbit
Saturday, May 15

The Los Angeles Lakers fell behind the San Antonio Spurs early on in the best out of seven conference finals series. San Antonio dominated the first two games, sending the Lakers home with two early defeats. Los Angeles looked bad. Even fans were concerned that the team had lost the spark that had led them to dominate the NBA for the last five years. However, the Lakers bounced back and won the next three games of the series. Game six was on Saturday, and I needed to find a place to watch the game. I also needed to check out some music.

What better place to go for both than Orbit? The Southside Funk Brothers had already taken the stage by the time I arrived. (The first half of the game was also under way.) This is a four-man outfit of keys, bass, guitar, and drums. Yes, as the name implies, they do play funk music. More specifically, they play that chilled out, unobtrusive, pimp-in-a-caddy-on-spinners kind of funk.

It didn't take a long listen to know that these four cats from Richmond are very skilled. Unfortunately, skill alone does not always command an audience's attention. For the most part, Orbit patrons ignored the band's lounged-out funk grooves in favor of other stimulation.

I kept both eyes on the game and both ears on the music, glancing over to the stage periodically when I heard an intriguing solo or clever turnaround. I was a bit concerned that the band wasn't playing up to their full capabilities early in their set. A little after midnight, the bar began to fill up. Maybe it was because there were more people in the room, maybe it was because the band was nice and warmed up.

Whatever it was, The Southside Funk Brothers found the feeling to add to their skill and began bringing a lot more heat to the table. Whereas the earlier tunes were more suitable to nodding one's head, this new batch of inspired tunes was much more danceable.

So people danced. Others filed in from the street and watched. Some stayed. The band's groove became more lively and inspired. They had obviously won the crowd over... and they won me over, too. Especially the bassist, who gets my vote for the "Yes, I really did that, and no, you can't have a lock of my hair," Certified Badass award.

Southside Funk Brothers started off a bit slow but came through in the end. So did the Lakers, by the way. They won game six and the series by besting the Spurs four games to two.

Southside Funk Brothers