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December 29th, 2010 CASEY JARMAN | Music Stories
 

Primer: Five Fingers Of Funk

     
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Formed: 1992 in Portland.

For fans of: The Roots, James Brown, Funkadelic, Spearhead, Digable Planets, the Coup.

Sounds like: Maceo Parker hanging out with Guru and deciding to...ah, shit, it sounds like lots and lots of marijuana.

Latest release: Twisted and Lifted (2001), which highlighted DJ Chill’s turntablism as much as it did the band’s live horn section.

Why you care: Five Fingers of Funk was making live, full-band hip-hop at a time when that was a completely novel thing to do. Before the Roots ever released an album, this Portland collective—fronted by MC Pete Miser, a rapper as at home writing about politics as he was writing about partying and girls—roamed the Northwest playing an amalgamation of funk, hip-hop, reggae, rock and whatever other influences grabbed them at the time. Though the band’s various incarnations were often overlooked or dismissed by the local press of the day (call it Floater syndrome, as the Fingers’ hard-partying hippie/hip-hop fan base may have scared critics away), it maintained a following throughout the latter half of the ’90s and into the early aughts before Miser moved to New York City, finding some success as a solo artist and producer. This show—the Fingers’ first gig since 2002—will be the last night ever for the Berbati’s venue. No word on whether Five Fingers will book future gigs.


SEE IT: Five Fingers of Funk plays New Year’s Eve at Berbati’s Pan, with Philly’s Phunkestra and DJ Scott O. 9 pm. $25. 21+.
 
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