FunkCity.net is super stoked to be able to attend the inaugural Sacred Rose Festival this weekend, August 26-28th, just outside of Chicago. It’s a unique setting for a festival, on the grounds of a large soccer stadium, but outside on a field with three stages plus one stage inside for DJ sets. For a dilettante of funk, jazz, fusion and soul this lineup is stacked from start to finish each day. Here’s a rundown of the sets I’m most interested in each day, with a teaser video for each.
Friday August 26th
St. Paul & The Broken Bones will be the de facto closer on The Dreamfield since The Black Pumas pulled out of all their remaining 2022 shows. That’s AOK with me because they put on one of the best all around soul shows of our time. Paul Janeway has a helluva voice and great stage presence and theatrics. The band is super tight and I always key on a great horn section, not to mention my buddy Kevin Leon is on the skins. I first saw these guys at Hulaween a few years ago and caught the bug right away – don’t miss these guys.
Lettuce is the leading funk band of this generation and never forget their roots, paying homage to all their funk forefathers. They’re flying higher than ever right now coming off a multidate gig with the legends Tower of Power. On top of that, their latest album, Unify (read my coverage here) is absolutely white hot funk. I was fortunate to catch them with Tower of Power and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra on my first ever trip to Red Rocks last month. What could be more wondrous than catching their hit Vámonos performed with the orchestra (see the featured video). Can’t wait to hear more of their mystically adventurous music.
The Dip recently released their latest album Sticking With It — it’s great for that old school soul feel and I’m sure they’ll feature a lot of the new tunes at Sacred Rose. I first got hip to The Dip in 2019 on their first visit to Atlanta and they were kind enough to let me post the video of the show (see featured). I immediately got drawn in to the hot horn licks, great vocals and lyrics and tight grooves, not to mention their overall style. Then got a chance to catch them again earlier this year and it just reinforced the need to see these guys as frequently as possible. This is one that you do not want to miss early on in the schedule.
Sierra Hull is in the words of Cory Wong “one of the most talented musicians on the planet.” I caught her opening for Cory in Atlanta and she’s a terrific singer and mandolist and lotsa fun to watch. I’ll be out early to catch her again and hear more of her latest album on Friday.
Saturday August 27th
Cory Wong is one of the most prolific and ubiquitous musicians over the last couple of years. After first gaining fame as an adjacent Vulfpeck member, he struck out on his own toured with small combos, horn enhanced bands and of course as a founding member of The Fearless Flyers. During the pandemic he put out something like eight albums in one year! More recently he struck out with with Cory & The Wongnotes with a big band sound – check out my album review and the tune from a recent Atlanta show! On top of it all, he’s a super nice person!
Lotus is absolutely one of my favorite bands to see live and listen to live shows on Nugs.net or their studio albums. In fact, for me they are the top bill of Saturday’s lineup. The addition of Tim Palmieri has accelerated their intergalactic travel. It’s such great timing for them with their new album, Bloom and Recede, dropping on Friday. They’ve previewed a couple of songs of of it in their recent live shows and they’re killer as usual. As they said in a recent social media post, “catch us at the festival on Saturday… perhaps you’ll hear a new song or two.” Can’t wait!
SunSquabi is another fave jamtronic band and their appeal just keeps getting stronger. Although I’d seen them several times over the years, my interest spiked when I first reviewed their funk-tinged Instinct album during the pandemic. Each time I see them their energy is infectious and this one will be super special as they’ll be joined by Kanika Moore of Doom Flamingo. She crushed her set as Queen is Doomed (Queen cover set) at 420 Fest in Atlanta and this set is one that can’t miss.
lespecial is a heavy jamtronica band that blew me away at this past Hulaween (see video) and I’m really looking forward to seeing them again. I’d seen them a couple of times in Atlanta prior to that but the energy of that set was over the top. I’ll sharpen my feel for them over the weekend looking forward to some heavy, dark jam fusion.
Sunday August 28th
Khruangbin has experienced one of the most meteoric ascents of any band over the last couple of years and rise of closes out the festival on The Vega stage. The transformation from seeing them play Aisle 5, a 300 capacity Atlanta venue in 2017 to seeing them close out Hulaween and pack The Eastern (capacity 2200) in Atlanta for four nights in December 2021 has been phenomenal. They have one of the sharpest shows around with plenty of visual effects and they’ll be a great fest closer.
Kamasi Washington is probably the top jazz saxophonist of this generation and this festival is testimony to his crossover broad appeal. From the first time I saw (and met) him at Aisle 5 in Atlanta back in 2015, he’s been one of my favorite ‘new’ artists. My emotional connection with his tunes, playing and demeanor often choke me up. You gotta love a guy whose debut album is three discs and is called The Epic and fully lives up to the name! I’ll be glued to the rail for this entire set, no doubt, with a do not disturb sign on my back.
Hiatus Kaiyote is an Australian jazz-funk band with a justifiable ‘cool’ aura. A lot of the vibe is focused on lead singer/guitarist Nai Palm. I’ve only seen them once prior and will see them a couple of weeks after the festival back in Atlanta. It’s really great to have them at this fest and they hit a sweet spot for me which will make the third afternoon just right.
Karina Rykman first came to my attention as the bass player for Marco Benevento –now she’s clearly established a reputation for her own standout band. I’d seen her a couple of times but she caught me head on at this past 420 Fest in Atlanta where I’d put her set among the top five of the weekend. She’s a badass player, a fine singer and most of all, her sets are tons of fun. Looking forward to this one.