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The New Mastersounds Unite Them All

November 22nd, 2010

New Mastersounds – Brooklyn Bowl – November 20, 2010

(Photo: Dino Perrucci)

(Photo: Dino Perrucci)

Brooklyn Bowl was brimming with smiling faces and shaking rumps Saturday night as the UK’s the New Mastersounds provided the soundtrack. The room seemed to be hosting multiple parties all at once—there were a couple of birthdays being celebrated, plus homecomings and reunions, and there might have even been a baby shower going on somewhere in the middle of the floor. But when the band got cooking, they all merged into one continuous festivity from stage to bar.

If you think about any funk, groove or boogaloo band that’s ever gotten your toes tapping, there’s a good chance that the New Mastersounds channeled them at some point during their set. Guitarist Eddie Roberts led the charge, merging Grant Green, Leo Nocentelli and everyone else of that spectrum. Each number set up an irresistible groove on Pete Shand’s bass and Simon Allen’s drums and then Roberts would take over, building up a lengthy, well-formed solo that eventually reached either my-fists-are-pumping-in-the-air or my-butt-can-shake-no-more levels.

Despite the greasy grooves, there is something unmistakably British about the guys in this band, who remarked with curiosity on the roomful of large televisions. (What, they don’t worship your flat screens over there?) Eschewing the normal “how you guys doing?” that gets most party bands by Stateside, Roberts actually inquired of the sweaty, smiling crowd: “Are you feeling suitably engaged?” They most certainly were. —A. Stein