Friday I got a message from Valenti Funk of the Effinays telling me that they were going to be playing an acoustic set at my favorite Dallas caffeine dispensary – Opening Bell Coffee. We’ve told you about the Effinays before – a High Powered, nitro-burning funk/reggae outfit out of dallas. I had to take a trip out to Dallas to to see it for myself.
But mother nature was doing her best to prevent it. As we headed out of Funkytown, the storm hit, and traffic slowed down to 20 mph. It was pitch black, and visibility was barely past the hood of my car. Somehow, we managed to find Lamar and made our way inside.
I got there just as the Effinays were setting up. The lounge version consisted of Joe “Big Spook” Martinez (vocals), Jeremy “Pan Blanco” Piering (bass), Valenti “Funk” Thomas (keyboard), Alex “Caveman” Rivera De Jesus (guitar) and the band's new percussionist, Jimmy Gutierrez.
I must admit I felt a bit uneasy about this. Opening Bell is a classic coffee house, literally subterranean, with good coffee and even better staff. It’s the kind of place you expect to see a singer/songwriter act, or poetry reading. These guys are usually swinging from the rafters and jumping around and just really aren’t the coffee shop singer/songwriter type act.
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Yet here they were seated in matching jackets in the corner. Valenti Funk complained about feel naked without his drums in front of him – The irony was not lost on Big Spook, who pointed out that this was the most clothes the had ever worn at a show. The man was even wearing a tie.
Ok, so this wasn’t anything like an Effinays show. They did Donut Shop acoustically and, while it was recognizable, it was a different impact. It was laid back and jazzy. Big Spook’s vocals were still just as cutting, but this was best thought of like a jazzy cover of an Effinays tune.
I enjoyed this show immensely. The talent of these musicians can carry anything. The Effinays could do a polka set and I would drive through a rain storm to see it and walk away smiling. But this was essentially a different beast from what we normally expect from this band.
After the band left the stage, we had a surprise guest – Larry g(EE) took the stage along with Mike Clowes on Guitar. They gave a short but memorable set. g(EE) normally performs with a large band, so it was refreshing to see him do a small acoustic show like this. He’s a charming and talented performer.
It speaks to the talent of the musicians in both of these acts that they can step out of their normal routine and do something different, even for a night.
Opening Bell Coffee
1409 S Lamar St, Dallas