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Sound Check

After speaking with King Bria cofounder and guitarist Rich Briglia, it's difficult not to get that fuzzy, warm feeling you have after talking to a close relative with whom you haven't spoken in a long time. His attitude is easygoing and his voice welcoming. His childlike laugh when talking about his band and its members is infectious. The admiration he has for the other guys in the band can't be suppressed. It's this feeling of kinship that makes their sound -- an amalgamation of wholesome rock, gospel-influenced soul, and head-bobbing funk -- come across as a such a comfortable union.

"It's a real family atmosphere. We're all brothers at this point, and that's what people pick up on when we play," Briglia says with pride. "We really love each other, and it feels good," he adds with a giggle.

The clan is comprised of William Pierce (bass), Wyatt Pauley (guitar), Rich Pistocchi (drums), Rennie Nieves (congas), and Briglia's cofounder and long-time pal, Ivan King (vocals, piano).

The two friends met in 1992, and the band has since come a long way. "When we first got together," says Briglia, "it was more like an acoustic thing with soulful vocals, and we had a sax player. It was much mellower. The sound now is a fusion [among] all the personalities in the group, all the ethnicities. And it's all about the groove -- we call it 'getting our swerve on.'"

Since returning recently from a European tour in support of their self-produced, locally recorded debut CD Around the Block in 80 Days, the band has been busy with gigs in Broward and Palm Beach counties, and they've been writing new songs, a process that involves on-stage performances. "We get into jams sometimes while we're playing, and all we have to do is look at each other like 'Hey, let's remember this one,' and we go back to those jams later and trim them up into new songs."

Cuts from 80 Days can currently be heard on ZETA-4 (WZTA-FM 94.9). Tracks worthy of a friendly ear include "Gesture," which is a showcase for King's drama-rich low notes that slow-dance with the twinkling guitars and the handsome drumbeat in the background.

The best way to experience King Bria, however, is in person. "The CD's great, but, when we play live, you've really got to see us," boasts Briglia. "We feed off the audience, and I can always tell when they're into it -- it's in the eyes. And when we see that, sometimes the band moves more than the audience!"

King Bria plays Shuckums in Hollywood on Friday. Aside from seeing the band dance, you can also expect an eclectic crowd. King calls the town "Hollyweird" due to all the "walks of life" that attend their shows.

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Brian Hyman

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