Sydney Festival: Thunder Soul and the Kashmere Stage Band

In the 1970’s a music teacher at Kashmere High School in Texas decided to inspire and challenge his music program kids. He did, and they became one of the most acclaimed funk bands in the US for a few years. They even travelled overseas to perform. I have some of their recordings and they are phenomenal.

In 2008 some of those band members reformed the band, to perform an inspirational concert for that music teacher that gave them so much. And someone else made a documentary about that, called Thunder Soul.

Last night, at Town Hall, Sydney Festival staged a great event: a showing of that documentary, followed by a concert of the still-reformed and touring Kashmere Stage Band. I was there.

The film was touching. It’s a great illustration of how a great teacher can make a great difference, how kids can rise to the occasion, how lessons stick with you through life, and how it’s better to thank people while they’re alive.

Kashmere Stage Band

The concert immediately after was a whole lotta funk. They played some of the classic KSB songs like “Zero Point”, as well as funk classics that inspired them (a lot of Sly and James, obviously). They’re all middle-aged guys now, obviously, but they had a lot of fun making us sing and dance. They still had their synchronised horn moves, and the funky steps that set them apart as performers from the more staid high school bands of the ’70s.

Even after all these years you can’t fake the funk.