Threat From Outer Space lands close to home 

West Coast funksters add drum and bass to new sound

Who: Threat From Outer Space

Where: Boot Pub

When: Monday, Aug. 26

West Coast band Threat From Outer Space rounds up some Monday Madness at the Boot Pub this week, after a cross-country tour.

"The tour was good times all around," says guitarist Dennis Chan.

Having opened for the Guess Who and played with Cinematic Orchestra (Ninja Tune label) and Swollen Members (Battle Axe), the nominees for the Rising Star Award at Canadian Music Week have proved their stuff.

After playing some 45 shows, the band is shifting gears from early funk roots to drum and bass manoeuvres, giving them a new landing for their modern funkadelia.

"We want to make the music more organic overall – usually we start with some hip hop, then move into some drum and bass (sections) for the dance crowd," adds trumpet player Tameem Barakat.

They’ve been honing their sound since the release of their self-titled, full-length CD in June. The vibe evolves with each show.

"We’re in transition, playing a lot of improv at every show," says Barakat.

"We play off the energy of the moment, unless we’re bored and want to rock the room. Or if they’re already energized and want to dance, we’ll play off that."

Barakat says their fall surprise will be a vinyl release of Walking On the Width of a Blade.

"The song is about the paradox between freedom of a person and the burden of responsibility," says Barakat.

"There are razor blades on the left hand side and iodine on the right."

With descriptions like this you know you’ll find some lyrical gems with this band, that looks to the crowd at each show.

Oh, and that name?

The band actually borrowed a quotation from former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, as he stated in one speech: "the only thing that can unite my time is a threat from outer space."

The band, who have been stylizing their own sound since 1997, plans to release future songs in the vinyl format.

"New school funk" was how they billed their first CD, All Systems Activated , released in December of 1999.

The CD was followed by a slew of festival dates including the DuMaurier Jazz Festival (2001), Toronto’s independent music showcase NXNE (2001), and New Music West (1999-2001).

They played Maxx Fish in the 2001 ski season, as well as the Boot.

Barakat says the band is a collective, free of the confines of the lead singer ego syndrome.

"Sometimes you can just see their attitude oozing out at the mic," he says.

The collective process is problematic "only when people argue with me!" quips the band member, who is joined by drummer-vocalist Jon Arason, tenor saxophonist Ryan Cranston, and electric guitar and bass player Matt Creed.

Catch their new drum and bass manoeuvres Monday night.

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