Kelvingrove Bandstand, Glasgow
Fans of old school funk were wooed over the weekend at Kelvingrove Bandstand with consecutive appearances by the Brand New Heavies and Queen of Funk, Chaka Khan, although Khan’s mighty gospel holler and her band’s virtuosity would have had far greater impact in a sweaty club.
This was a serious deep funk set, lavished with liberal helpings of slap bass, wah-wah guitar (or McWah, as her guitarist’s pedal appeared to have been renamed for the night) and jazz funk keyboard licks. As such, it spoke to the Khan connoisseur who has followed her career from the 1970s, rather than the al fresco party crowd who had just been warmed up with a DJ set of soul funk favourites from Soul II Soul mainman Jazzie B.
The maximum funk of Tell Me Something Good, with writer Stevie Wonder’s stamp all over it, was an early highlight, worth jamming out as a call and response with her backing singers and the crowd. But as she rolled out a succession of relatively unfamiliar Rufus tracks in indulgent arrangements, engagement wavered.
Using her diva prerogative, there was room for indifferent piano ballad Love Me Still, written with Bruce Hornsby, but not for her Prince-penned UK Number One I Feel For You. She also made the audience wait through a slow jam My Funny Valentine before finally delivering I’m Every Woman and Ain’t Nobody, the chunky funk of the latter accompanied by high kicks and low dips from Khan and band and a rock guitar coda played with teeth.