Posts Tagged ‘The Deadly Fists of Kung Fu


* The Constellations, Deadly Fists of Kung Fu, Mr. Fahrenheit @ Vinyl Music Hall. 04/16/11

During their amusement park ride set of rock n’ soul, keyboardist Jamie Gordon stood in front of the microphone and personally thanked local band Mr. Fahrenheit for bringing back the “sexy saxophone.” Adding that, when The Constellations return to Pensacola, he wants to play with the exact same lineup that consisted of Mr. Fahrenheit and the Deadly Fists of Kung Fu.

Such was the way of a wild night that started at Vinyl Music Hall and ended up at karaoke night in a popular local bar in Pensacola, Florida. Gracing the stage as opening act were Mr. Fahrenheit. No strangers to the downtown venue, the band led by Katy Hubbard (vocals, saxophone), R.J. McKee (Guitar), Ben Minor (vocals, drums), and Robert Pennington (bass) confidently performed their set for the crowd, winning the adulation of new fans that also included the headlining group.

Following Mr. Fahrenheit were the Deadly Fists of Kung Fu. Recently opening for legendary artist Mike Watt and appearing on the local music television program The Uncharted Zone, the Deadly Fists of Kung Fu are also veterans of the Vinyl stage. Called into action to drop sonic volleys for audiences that like to rock, the band didn’t disappoint as Zac Hobbs (vocals, guitar), Andrew Bennett (drums), Jason Hurt (guitar) and Tim Bishop (filling in for Phread Touchette on bass) flew their brand of super-hero rock for the crowd.

Formed in Atlanta, Georgia and having adopted Pensacola as a “second home,” The Constellations showed the same explosive desire this night as they did during their Vinyl Music Hall debut as supporting act for Electric Six in October of 2010. Marking their fourth appearance at Vinyl, lead singer Elijah Jones has turned up the intensity dial and facial hair with every appearance on the Pensacola stage. With partners in crime, Wes Hoffman (bass), Jamie Gordon (keyboard), Trevor Birdsong, (guitar), Shane Human (drums) and Shabnam Bashiri (background vocals, synthesizer, percussion) by his side, Jones and crew are always guilty of stealing your feet and injecting everyone within earshot, a performance that they will not soon forget.

Toward the end of their set, Jones smiled at the audience and exclaimed, “I’m gonna be out there…you be sure to provide me with the things that I need. You are beautiful, we love you so much. This next song is about a girl I know so very well. I love her so much. She’s a sexy little thing. I’ve known her for a long time. Her name is Felicia.”

Twisting the crowd into “dirty” trances and quickly redeeming souls by taking us to “church,” The Constellations played well into a hot night that would have appeared to end when the band played their last song and Jones declared “Thank you, guys! I Love you. Thank you very much, you guys are awesome. Man, I love every single one of you. You all are beautiful. Come party with us, let’s party!”

With their set over, the band joined the crowd exchanging laughs and stories. Jones even came over to our group and asked us how we were doing. With the time nearing 1 am, my friends and I decided to hit Sir Richards Lounge to indulge in some late night karaoke……and that’s when it happened.

Standing next to the bar and engaged in conversation, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, a distinctive afro walking towards the front door that was swinging open. The person disappeared and I thought maybe I was just hallucinating from a long work week. But then another glance to the door produced the visual of the entire band walking into the packed bar.

With the clock now striking a few minutes past 2 am, the Constellations had decided to join in a little local fun. Hoffman and his signature afro joined Pensacola rocker Boyd Knox for a duet while Jones showed gaming skill in the pool room and Gordon entertained with a solo number on the karaoke stage that was DJ’d by Brent Condon of the local band Long Division.

The night got so wild that my glasses were knocked off while joking around with Chuck Taylor of the group Unnatural Soundz. While my friends and I searched on the floor, Gordon, showing complete coolness and humanity, stopped the conversation with his party, asked what happened and joined our search party. The glasses were eventually found unharmed by Earl Lyon of the group Earl’s Killer Squirrel to whom I offered to buy a drink, which he humbly declined.

It’s sad that a night of “sexy saxophones,” super-hero rockers, karaoke madness with friends and a surprise late night appearance by the uber-cool Constellations had to end, but as the reformed N.W.A. rapper turned domesticated entrepreneur Ice Cube used to say….today was a good day.


The Constellations first performance at Vinyl opening for Electric Six with CockFight

The Constellations second performance at Vinyl (First as headliners). Supported by The New Collisions and Deadly Fists of Kung Fu

The Constellations third performance at Vinyl opening for Robert Randolph and the Family Band


* The Constellations, The New Collisions, Deadly Fists of Kung Fu @ Vinyl Music Hall. 12/11/10

“Without you coming out and supporting live music, none of this is possible!” After Elijah Jones (lead singer of The Constellations) made this declaration towards the middle of their rhythmically charged set, the audience shouted in agreement and the band launched into a white-hot rendition of the Nile Rogers produced, David Bowie classic proclamation of escapism and desire, “Let’s Dance!”

This Saturday night adventure was a steamy, celebratory mix of rock, dance and even a little humor. Billed by Vinyl Music Hall as a “Low Dough Show,” five bucks earned admission into the venue and a date with three bands who dedicated their night to making everyone shake a move or two.

Fresh from their Vinyl Music Hall-oween Cars cover set, were local rockers Deadly Fists of Kung Fu, who started the night’s activities. Anchored by a straight forward push of rock, DFKF warmed the crowd up and even got one audience member to start a Pogo Dance Revival in front of the stage. Sailing their wave of sound are Zac Hobbs (vocals/guitar), Phread Touchette (bass), Andrew Bennett (drums), and Jason Hurt (guitar). No one can ever say that the DFDK are guilty of shoe gaze rock or taking themselves too seriously; some songs were introduced with comedic abandon by Hurt, rebutted by Hobbs and then clarified by Touchette in an entertaining, old-school vaudevillian fashion. One brave audience member tried to throw in a smart remark only to be shot down by the Hobbs, Hurt and even a few people in the crowd. The band might crack jokes and have a good time, but messing with the Deadly Fists of Kung Fu could render one embarrassed. Midway through the set, Hurt announced that radio DJ, Candy, was in the audience and the band took a minute to promote TK 101’s “Anything for Kids” radio-thon to be held the next morning. The radio-thon was a benefit to help the Children’s Home Society. The Deadly Fists of Kung Fu closed out their set and proved that a band can rock, joke and lend a hand for a good cause all in the same night.

Following the Deadly Fists of Kung Fu were The New Collisions. Fronted by Sarah Guild (vocals), the Boston, Massachusetts group powered a sound that echoed touches of 80’s new wave heroes Berlin, and a striking touch of The Pretenders. Skillfully weaving their sonic backdrop were Scott Guild (guitar), Casey Gruttadauria (keyboard), Alex Stern (bass), and Zak Kahn (drums).

Celebrating their six month anniversary as a couple, James Hagan and Bonnie Hans enjoyed a full night of entertainment that was highlighted by The New Collisions’ debut performance at Vinyl Music Hall. “They are the best band I’ve seen all year” remarked Hagan, a University of West Florida graduate student, when asked his thoughts regarding the show.

After the New Collisions finished their set, It was time for The Constellations to mark a stamp on their second performance at Vinyl Music Hall. Having opened for Electric Six barely two months ago, the gathered mass of people were vocal about the band’s return as headliners for the night’s show.

“I came to party” voiced Elijah Jones and matched loudly by the Pensacola crowd. Making their way from Atlanta, The Constellations fielded a full assortment of vivid players including Wes Hoffman (bass) who was endearingly given the nickname “Fro-bot” by Jones, Jamie Gordon (keyboard), Trevor Birdsong (guitar), Jason Nackers (drums), Shabnam Bashiri (vocals, percussion),and Alaina Terry (vocals, percussion).

Not a precious second was wasted as the band commenced to reaching out and working every soul in the room with their addictive explosions of funk, soul, rock and pure energy. Jones even threw in some old school beat-boxing for added pleasure. Matching the sonic connection of their music was the pure visual pageantry of their performance. Every character in the motley cast proved enthralling, engaging and dedicated to the sound, their instruments, their band mates, and the audience. At times, Gordon played the role of mad scientist/musician with a crazy love/hate affair with his ebony keyboard; seconds of pounding its dark carriage followed by moments of caressing hyper-melodic sounds from it. Some of the most fleshed out characters in a Tennessee Williams’ play never faced the kind of treatment that Gordon showed his keyboard this night.

A few songs into their set, Jones dedicated a song to fellow Atlanta artist, Cee Lo Green, the charismatic former Goodie Mob member and co-creator of Gnarls Barkley. “He helped me write this song,” shared Jones, and it is called “Love is a murder.” Like all parties, this one had to come to an end, but The Constellations definitely provided the fully expected exclamation groove-point for the evening.

Five dollars, three bands, one hot, crazy night of fun “under the moonlight, the serious moonlight” in a city called Pensacola.


Story and Pictures from the Electric Six, The Constellations, CockFight show @ Vinyl Music Hall
Story and Pictures from Deadly Fists of Kung Fu Vinyl Music Hall-oween show

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