People think of funk and dirty rock and roll as being from down south. The Seattle four-piece Down North is trying to contradict that geographic stereotype one gig at a time. The band is currently on its first tour that stretches all the way to the Atlantic. The extensive itinerary includes three total South Florida dates at BB King's and the Funky Buddha. Shows that have been long in the planning according to singer Anthony Briscoe, "I've been trying to get us to the East Coast for three years."
The group has completely transformed since its beginnings. "Down North was originally seven white guys who played funky music," Briscoe explains.
"Then the original singer left the band seven years ago, and I jumped in. A lot of the other players dropped off for personal reasons, and we found new members on Craigslist or word of mouth. Our new drummer has only been with us for a few weeks."
The current touring lineup has them in a unique demographic for rock bands as three of the four members are African-American. Briscoe says people try to typecast them as, "you know, black rock. But when you think about it, rock is kind of like Michael Jackson. It was black first."
Though Down North previously recorded a studio album, Danger, the group shut down its distribution with the change of personnel. The band plans to record a new album, but in the meantime, Down North has three songs available on its website. "Your World," "Running," and "Down North" show a high energy mix of funk, blues, and rock with Briscoe's voice reminiscent of Chris Robinson's early years with the Black Crowes.
The singer though enjoys a different description of the band's sound, calling it "soul punk." Down North is excited to see if audiences around the US are different from what they're accustomed to in the Pacific Northwest. "Back home they do this thing called the Seattle freeze, where they listen to the music and just stand there. I'm always like 'come to party or go home.' We want to see people moving on the dance floor." He should have no problem finding exactly that in South Florida.
Down North. 7:30 p.m., July 31 and August 1, at BB King's, 550 South Rosemary Ave. Suite 236, West Palm Beach. Call 561-420-8600, or visit bbkingclubs.com
9:30 p.m., August 2, at the Funky Buddha Lounge & Brewery, 2621 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton. Cover is $6. Call 561-368-4643, or visit thefunkybuddha.com.