Musical goulash anyone?

To kick off this fall’s series of KSPU benefit shows, four versatile musical groups will be getting together tonight to help support one of the last freeform radio stations in the nation.

To kick off this fall’s series of KSPU benefit shows, four versatile musical groups will be getting together tonight to help support one of the last freeform radio stations in the nation. At the beginning of summer, as many well know, KPSU’s city-wide frequency ceased to exist, leaving many unsuspecting radio listeners flabbergasted, confused, even a little offended. Drifting down the stream of technological progressivism (littered with dramatic budget cuts), KPSU is now almost entirely an online station, and, in lieu of the new financial system, is struggling to meet revenue goals in order to stay afloat.

As such, The Ocean Floor, Yeah Great Fine, Firs of Prey and The Love Loungers will be hosting an evening of myriad musical madness at Backspace and a percentage of the proceeds will head over to the KPSU financial masterminds. The range of genres to be showcased tonight is much anticipated.

Aaron Bikis, promotions director at KPSU and the man in charge of booking shows, says, “It’s so diverse because we really want to reach out to as many people as we can, you know, so people can feel that community connection with their school, because this is such a commuter school.”

He and Jay Turk, the music director, are both very enthusiastic about how this year will unfold for their student-run station, the potential for growth and also for tonight’s event at Backspace. Bikis describes The Love Loungers as “spoken word funk rap,” Yeah Great Fine as “upbeat, dance, rock, utilizing complex syncopated beats,” Firs of Prey as “acoustic…something tropical about it with a little indie spin” and The Ocean Floor as “the very definition of indie in many ways; stuff you listen to when you’re soaking in a bathtub.” Each act has its gems of magnificence, but headlining the show is a band whose rapid success seems almost too good to be true. 

In March of 2010 (yes, six months ago), Ini Akpan decided he wanted a full band, rather than sample tracks, to back some of his DJ productions while he was hosting at Club 915. Friends of friends of friends commenced one evening, live, completely unrehearsed—though equipped with skills ranging from jazz to experimental to hip hop—and played together with great success, much to the delight of their listeners. 

All eight members liked where the group was headed, the energy they created together, and before they knew it, The Love Loungers was born, the great pioneers of Groove-Hop.

“Groove-Hop,” drummer and Renaissance man Dino West says, “is a continuous cross-step of jazz, soul, funk, blues and hip hop. It is described as playing the crates…we find the purest grooves of music from the past and we twist [them] with hip hop and jazz improvisation…we like to say, it’s not a movement—it’s a groovement.”

What makes this group so hot, besides its debonair presence, community building engagements and unique “musical goulash” sound, is the group’s fiery stage performances. Each show is different due to the group’s embracive attitude towards both jazz and hip hop improvisation, but also how much each member of the band gives him or herself to the audience and how much the audience delivers it right back—that game of energetic tug-of-war has infinite power to change the essence of a show.  “They are wild,” said Turk, who witnessed the group’s live performance in the KPSU lounge Saturday night. “So full of energy.” Today The Love Loungers are busier than they have ever been, playing three to four shows a week. When once the group had to call up the venues, almost begging for time slots, it is now frequently called up by various venues and agencies eager to book them. Their powerful energy and teasing playfulness on stage have, thus far, brought only more positivity their way. They will be releasing an EP soon and a full-length album, hopefully, by Valentine’s Day. 

“There is no reason,” said guitarist DeAngelo Raines, “why we shouldn’t be playing international in the future.”

“Yeah,” said West, “why wouldn’t you go see the Love Loungers?”

Great question indeed. With a name and sound so sexy, so enticing, so full of swag, why not?