Funk fusion band to perform at the Yacht Club tonight


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mp3 sample: Bumpus

"Burn Till We Learn"

Depending on who one talks to, the name Bumpus could have come from a variety of places.

Some fans of the band are told the name comes from the next-door neighbors in the movie A Christmas Story, and others think it comes from band member Travis Chandler's first band, Maddy Bumpus Booty Whompers. Whichever is true, it's the fans' choice to decide where the name Bumpus originated.

But when it comes to music, it's easy to see where the band's roots lay. The band uses funk and soul and keeps things fun and fresh during performances.

"When you see us on stage, laughing at each other, it's genuine," said band member Andy Rosenstein. "After hundreds of hours traveling, singing, and playing together, what keeps us going is the chance to surprise each other."

Bumpus will play at 9 p.m. Saturday at the Yacht Club,13 S. Linn St. Admission is $7.

Chandler, Bumpus' bass player, and band member James Johnston met when they both attended the same high school in Chicago. The two spent several years jamming together before they finally decided to put up fliers and hold auditions to form an actual band.

"Way back in the day, a bunch of us who were already friends listened to the Sly and the Family Stone album Fresh and the Beastie Boys' album Check Your Head," Chandler said. "It was these albums that made us feel like we could be a professional band."

For a band of about eight or nine members (depending on who can make the gig that day), it's not uncommon for a keyboard part to migrate to the horns or for the horns to change the chords to a song because someone came up with a great harmonic idea, Rosenstein said.

"All of our pieces work together like a well-oiled machine, and we make sure that the vibrations hit the soul of the listener," band member Tina Howell said.

Bumpus follows the tradition of old-school '70s funk bands, but its horn players and drummer add a fusion style to its music.

"You'll rarely find us playing with other funk bands because most don't have backup singers or brass players," Chandler said. "But you will find that we always get people dancing."

Each show at which Bumpus performs usually consists of a set list that the band knows the audience will respond to. If the audience is moving and dancing, then the band knows this song has made the cut.

"It's sort of survival of the fittest for the songs," Chandler said.

On Saturday, Bumpus will play from its newly released albums All the People and Dance Floor Plan. But the band's current plan is to experiment with bringing its sound back to old-school funk at a studio in Chicago that specializes in using recording equipment from the late-70s.

"I think it's something that will sound really sound good with the style of music that we play," Chandler said.

But fans are already pretty happy with Bumpus' sound. The band realized how much of an effect its music had on an audience when it played at an outdoor festival in Carbondale, Colo.

"The crowd was massive, and when we finished every song, the clapping, whistling, and shouting melded together into a single epic roar," Rosenstein said.

Getting this same epic roar from every audience Bumpus performs for is now the goal of the band.

"We will continue to bring the fans the best funk and great songwriting and grooves that they have come to enjoy," Howell said.

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