POCATELLO — Funk:30pm is a group of college students who love funk and jazz, interacting with their audience and high-energy shows. But don’t mistake these musicians for one of Idaho State University’s groups.
Curtis Dey, a senior music major at ISU, started the band two years ago and has managed it since. The funk/jazz band plays next at 8:30 p.m. Friday at Portneuf Valley Brewing, 615 S. First Ave. in Pocatello. Their most recent band member is vocalist Orla O’Connor, who joined Funk:30pm in July.
Dey, who plays saxophone and trombone in the group, has played saxophone since high school in the Washington, D.C., area. He began performing in a gigging band in his senior year there.
Somewhere between playing in high school and moving to Idaho with his family — where they have relatives and enjoy a slower-paced life — Dey discovered Stevie Wonder. His brother showed him a cover of Wonder’s, “Pastime Paradise,” played by the Young Blood Brass Band.
“And then Pandora took over the rest,” Dey said.
Dey started a gigging band as soon as he moved to Idaho. One fell apart, and he started what’s now Funk:30pm. Today the Funk:30pm lineup consists of O’Connor and Dey, Dey’s brother Cameron on sousaphone, Brandon Hansen on drums, Dallas McCrea on bass and trombone, and Jesse Malloy on guitar.
They’re all music majors at ISU — save for Cameron Dey, an incoming freshman there — and enjoy playing in the music program’s ensembles. But this creates some confusion when trying to earn gigs as Funk:30pm.
“People don’t realize that we’re trying to become a professional band,” Dey said.
As the crowd watches the musicians bring instruments onto stage that aren’t guitars or drums, “people assume we’re an ISU jazz thing.”
Once the crowd hears Funk:30pm, “people like us,” Dey said.
Funk:30pm’s shows include more “jams” — in which one instrument plays a somewhat impromptu, extended solo — than a college ensemble. A college-affiliated band tends to have more structure, Dey said.
“I do love playing with a big band; don’t get me wrong,” said Dey, who, now that school has started, will juggle about five rehearsals between Funk:30pm and the groups he plays in for his music major. “It’s just a whole different monster.”
At shows like their upcoming gig this week, you can expect to hear both covers and original songs — a 50/50 split, Dey said. One band member often brings in their idea for a song, creating a collaboration process.
You can also expect a high-energy group that likes to talk through their music, and in Dey’s words, “spread the love of funk.”