In a change to our tradition of having a barbecue and bouncy castle in the garden for Dan's birthday, this year we hosted a party and gig at Colchester Arts Centre.
Headlining were Academy of Funk, in their second gig of the revised line-up of which Dan is their new drummer. As well as a gig and birthday party the evening was also an opportunity to raise money for the History Maker Foundation, a new charity set up by the Pancaldi family in memory of their son Joe who died in a hill walking accident in Scotland two years ago. The aim of the charity is to offer bursaries to disadvantaged young people so that they can benefit from a week away doing the kind of climbing and hill walking activities that Joe was passionate about sharing with young people.
The evening kicked off with a set of songs from Charity Pancaldi accompanied by Tony which concluded with an interview with Charity about the History Maker Foundation and an invitation for people to give.
After a short break for conversation and a top up from the bar, the mood changed with the intro music for AoF and dimmed lighting. Dan emerged from the back of the stage, bowed briefly and took to the drums carving out the rhythm kicking off the song "Richard Chandler" (much developed from the downloadable album version!), followed by each member of the band in turn picking up the song. There followed a fast paced set that held everyone's attention, uplifted and slightly stunned, to the end. AoF bounce and drive with musical energy and skill that carries the audience along with them. Just before the last song the band gave Dan an unexpected present of a Cajon. Finally came "Lost", ending in an extended drum outro. The audience appealed for an encore. There were no more tunes to play!
The evening concluded with birthday cake (thanks Sue!) and much conversation. It had all been so much more fun than a barbecue and a bouncy castle. Which was a good thing, as it had been raining most of the evening.
There's a photo set of AoF in action here