|Feelin' the Funk with Big Daddy Woo Woo|
|by Patrick McDonough|
|Saturday February, 22- Big Daddy Woo Woo was right on. From the first bass drop to the last, the crowd at Hard Hat Bar and Grill found themselves moving in their seats and shuffling their feet. The last time they played here more than 1,600 funk fans came to pay tribute. This time the number was less, but bar owner Scott Engelhart said that Big Daddy Woo Woo have clinched the number one and two spots for drawing the largest crowd of any band since they opened their doors less than a year ago.|
Big Daddy Woo Woo is Lou Rios (lead vocals - harmonica - ghetto pimp), Larry "Rock" Sanders (guitar - keyboard - vocals), J.J. Sax (sax - keyboard - vocals), Steve Shannon (drums) and Terry Bowdry (bass). They have been playing as a group since Lou brought them together nearly 2 years ago.
To say that they are good musicians would be an understatement. Underneath the sparkling costumes and star shaped sunglasses is a group of tremendously talented artists that have worked for years to achieve the level at which they perform. Separately, they have performed across a number of varying musical genres ranging from gospel to blues to smooth jazz before unifying for a common love of funk. So it's no surprise that they make bringing the funk to the people look easy. According to the band one of the main reasons is, "from the first note we have a blast." This was evident by the smiles on their faces while they showed Hard Hat where the party's at.
When asked about the most memorable show they have played to date, they answered almost in unison that it had to be opening for "K.C. and the Sunshine Band" during Riverfest 2002 in Beloit, WI. Then, when I asked what their wildest memory they've shared together since becoming a band was, Shannon told of a show they were performing during Old Settler Days. It was here that they experienced the power of what could have only been the Lord himself. It was a seemingly gorgeous afternoon when upon Rios's mention of the Lord's name the sky turned dark, it began to rain and the wind picked up knocking over a keyboard and mic stands. Then as quickly as it began the storm stopped, the clouds parted and the sun shown down once more. They couldn't explain it but now they know better than to mention his name…at least outdoors.
When asked where they obtain their funk inspiration from it became clear that first and foremost it was Earth, Wind and Fire. Other bands that they draw from are: The Commodores, Kool & the Gang, The Time, Rick James, Parliament, Sly & the Family Stone and Ohio Players to name a few.
They have had a number of fans over the years and gain more with each show, but probably their biggest fan, Verne Smith, a Rockford resident, had this to say about the band. He said, "Their music is great…Big Daddy Woo Woo really funk on down…I love them." He added, "They are one of the best bands in Rockford. I never miss a show." Oddly enough when asked if they had any Big Daddy groupies it was Verne that came to mind. They agreed that he doesn't miss a show, and he stays until well after the last song is played.
To their fans Big Daddy Woo Woo wanted to express their sincere appreciation for all the support that people have shown them over the last couple of years. They had one statement to sum up this sentiment, "Thank you for keeping the funk alive!"
So the next time you're in need of a little uplifting, toe tapping, downright boogie making music, then check out the funk revival with Big Daddy Woo Woo.
|Big Daddy Woo Woo|
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