SXSW Day 2: Texas Funk Legends Kool & Together on The 512 Rooftop @The512on6th


One of the cooler things about South By Southwest is the way that old and obscure bands are brought back into relevance, either by documentary films that are screened, or showcases that feature them. Victoria, Texas-based Kool & Together was just such a band, a group of Black musicians in a small Texas town who spent seven years recording a rather odd mix of soul, funk and psychedelic rock in the early 1970’s. When nothing really took off, they broke up. That would have been the end of the story, but in recent years record collectors got involved, as did the hip boutique label Light in the Attic Records, and the result was not just awakened interest in the old recordings, but a burst of new activity from the band itself. Although I had seen them play behind Fort Worth gospel mainstays The Relatives, I had never seen them perform their own show, so I was excited this year to get the opportunity to catch them on the rooftop at 512. As it turned out, the outdoor rooftop was the perfect venue for a band like Kool & Together, and although there was a fairly large group of people upstairs, the place didn’t seem at all uncomfortable. The band’s style is based around funk and soul, although elements of hard rock are included in a way that sets Kool & Together apart from other funk bands, and the audience seemed to enjoy every minute of it.

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