Tai Chi Funk Squad prepares for an outdoor twilight show
By ROB DUGUAY
Spring is now shifting to summer, which means a few venues in Rhode Island are going to put on outdoor shows.
One of those places is Dusk at 301 Harris Ave. in Providence. The place is located right between two of the city’s neighborhoods, Smith Hill and Federal Hill, and has just started booking shows on its side, as it did last summer.
On Friday April 16, the Myth Smith Productions booking organization will be presenting a show at Dusk titled “Clean Out The Funk” which will begin at 6:30 pm. Line-up includes Newport’s funk-jazz actor Queensboro Hustlers and Peerless Paupers of Norwich, Connecticut, with Johnston’s own Tai Chi Funk Squad headlining the evening.
I recently met guitarist and vocalist Jake Anderson and drummer Dylan Butler from the funk-rock act about COVID-19 changing things, working from home, sneaker repair, touring Florida and plans for the summer.
ROB DUGUAY: What do you think is the most important thing that has changed on a personal level because of COVID-19 since he arrived in March of last year?
JAKE ANDERSON: For me, it was being home all the time. I worked remotely for a whole year which was great sometimes. At the same time, I wasn’t doing concerts or seeing people at all, and although I’m resilient, it wore me out after a while. Plus, not playing shows was a soul killer.
DYLAN BUTLER: Definitely the same here in a similar sense. I haven’t played a show for a while last year, so having to cancel several in the spring and last summer was a huge disappointment.
RD: Jake, did you do anything else to pass the time apart from the music?
JA: I started to buy second-hand shoes on eBay and restore them. It’s exhilarating to buy a pair of shoes because brand new would cost three or four times what I would buy them for, then put some elbow grease on them and they look like new. I watched a ton of movies and had a great time with my dog Phife.
RD: Dylan, you recently toured Florida with Nate Cozzolino and the Lost Arts last winter. How were you able to organize the expedition and how did you perform at various locations there?
DB: We did a pretty quick descent in Florida and did eight dates in two weeks. I’ve been going to Florida every year with different groups for a few years now while slowly building a little circuit. The music scene there is really booming, there are a lot more gigs to do and the pay is about double what it is here. The tour definitely made Nate, Kevin McIntyre and I as tight as an acoustic trio could be and it was a good experience. It had its stressful times, sure, but we did it at every show and made new friends. We recorded everything, so hopefully people will see something soon.
RD: It’s awesome. What do you feel in the open-air twilight show on the 16th? Are you looking forward to playing outdoor concerts again?
JA: Yes, we are very excited. We recently played a gig there with Nate Cozzolino and the Lost Arts, and even though it was a bit chilly the vibe of the crowd and being able to play live again was all the warmth I needed .
RD: What are Tai Chi Funk Squad’s plans for the summer?
JA: We have some great outdoor concerts and a few weddings that we’re playing this summer. We also have outdoor concerts at Dusk, Tavern on the Hill in West Greenwich, and also at the Patio on Main in East Greenwich where we can’t wait to play.
For more information on Tai Chi Funk Squad, visit the group’s Facebook page. For more information on Dusk and the April 16 show, visit www.duskprovidence.com.