Material: Lit up in all its splendor, what better way is there to take in the sights of Manhattan than a nighttime boat ride complete with music, drinks and dancing. At the helm was New Orleans-based indie-funk band Flow Tribe, a good fit for setting the evening’s tone. After years of history together, they went their separate ways, re-uniting when they returned to New Orleans to help with rebuilding efforts following hurricane Katrina. Their music is high energy, genre crossing and flirts with various styles from funk to rock and rap, which all contributed to making the night a success. Most of their material was original with enough rhythmic variety to keep the toes tapping and the drinks flowing. As this was not a listening event, the lyric content or songs’ meaning was peripheral to the celebratory nature of the evening. Danceable numbers like “You Know What It’s About,” “Walk Like An Animal” and “Won’t Be Long” are just some of what was on the menu served up to an enthusiastic boat crowd eager to party.
Musicianship: The band members deliver a tight and spirited performance. There are some standout lead guitar lines and good bass moves, but above all, the band is in sync with each other and the pockets for vocals lay smoothly within the arrangements. As for front-man O’Rorke, he raps, he sings, he dances and plays trumpet— all an integral part of his showmanship.
Performance: Maintaining a festive vibe was key, and from that standpoint, the band fulfilled expectations. Judging their artistic merits based solely on this event would be unfair as it was interspersed with drinking, dancing and socializing. However, Flow Tribe fully embraced their entertainment role right down to O’Rorke’s flashy hot pink suit and black polke dot shirt. Their cover of Rod Stewart’s “Do You Think I’m Sexy” rounded out the set and blended well with their own material. Infusing a few more big covers into the mix would further buttress their performance.
Summary: Flow Tribe is a party natural, which in itself offers many opportunities of this ilk. It’s a notable skill to keep a crowd engaged for two hours when your competition is the skyline of Manhattan. Adding a few more heavy hitting well known songs and putting their own stamp on them, will have even more mass appeal and blend well with their own songs. A more listening oriented environment is necessary to really capture the entire Flow Tribe experience.
The Players: KC O’Rorke, vocals, trumpet; John-Michael Early, harmonica, washboard, vocals, keyboards; Russell Olschner, drums; Chad Penot, bass, vocals; Bryan Santos, guitar, timbales; Mario Palmisano, guitar.
Photo by Lindsay Freda