The Hampton Roads music scene can always use more funk. Groups such as Seed Is ... The Fuzz Band and Jae Sinnett's House and Sinnett do their part to keep live R&B alive in this neck of the woods, but it's too bad there aren't more local bands that build on the innovations of James Brown, Sly Stone and George Clinton. As I learned on Saturday night, Ant Man Bee was a group that once scratched that itch in a big way.
A group that was active in this area 1989 to 1992, Ant Man Bee reunited in conjunction with Saturday's premier of "Hardcore Norfolk: The Movie." While much of that documentary focused on punk rock, it did touch on the diversity of the local music scene. No group better exemplifies that than Ant Man Bee, a racially integrated band that presents a deft, deadly mix of down-and-dirty funk and punchy hard rock.
The band played as part of the premier at The Naro Expanded Cinema. Later that same night, it played at the Belmont House of Smoke. For this reporter -- who didn't arrive in Hampton Roads until 1994 -- the Belmont show was an exciting eye opener. Deep bass grooves from two bass players, blasting horns, hot metallic guitar leads and powerful male-female vocals combined to create a thrilling wave of sound. Tunes including "Lay Down," "Ball & Chain," and "Can't Stop It" delivered funk that kept the upstairs room at Belmont vibrating with positive party vibes.
I'd love to see Ant Man Bee buzz again soon.
The Hardcore Norfolk website says that band originally included Katrina Enztminger on vocals and keys, Levi Satcher on vocals, keys, guitar and trumpet, Mike Kohn on bass, John Finney on vocals, keys, sax, and percussion, Andy Labarge on guitar, Roy "Chubb" Boykins on lead vocals, percussion and Scott Mclemore on drums.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun