There will be no rising blocks, no snap kicks from the guys in Kung Fu this weekend.
But bassist Chris DeAngelis can promise fancy licks and a high-energy performance when the Connecticut-based funk outfit headlines the “Saturday Rocks” portion of the second annual American Music Festival for the Lake in Lake George.
“The names were getting thrown around and I guess it just kind of describes the music,” DeAngelis said of his band’s distinctive name. “It’s kind of in-your-face/we’re-the-martial-artists of music, I guess.”
American Music Festival for the Lake
WHERE: Festival Commons, Charles R. Wood Park, Lake George
WHEN: Noon, Saturday-Sunday
HOW MUCH: $35 Saturday, $40 Sunday (reduced advance tickets available)
MORE INFO: www.festivalforthelake.com
Twelve bands will play the weekend party at the Festival Commons at Charles R. Wood Park, located on Beach Road at the southern tip of Lake George — in what used to be the former Gaslight Village theme park.
The “Saturday Rocks” lineup features six other artists that will include Fultonville’s Sawyer Fredericks, who this past spring won NBC’s “The Voice” competition.
Five other performers will be on stage the next day for the “Country Sunday” showcase.
This weekend’s American Music Festival for the Lake in Lake George will include “Saturday Rocks” and “Country Sunday” themes.
Performing at the Charles R. Wood Park Festival Commons will be:
High Peaks Band, noon
Blotto, 1:30 p.m.
Big Mean Sound Machine, 3 p.m.
Quinn Sullivan Band, 4:30 p.m.
Sawyer Fredericks, 6 p.m.
Crucial Fiya with Natty Kasha, 7:15 p.m.
Kung Fu, 8:30 p.m.
The North & South Dakotas, noon
Driftwood, 1:30 p.m.
Donna The Buffalo, 3 p.m.
Sundy Best, 4:30 p.m.
Austin Webb, 6 p.m.
Saturday’s shows begin at noon with Saratoga Springs’ High Peaks Band, specializing in originals and covers by bands such as Phish and the Grateful Dead. Albany party band Blotto, funk and jazz specialists Big Mean Sound Machine and 16-year-old Massachusetts guitar whiz Quinn Sullivan will follow.
Fredericks takes the stage at 6 p.m., and will be followed by reggae and R&B outfit Crucial Fiya — with special guest Natty Kasha. Kung Fu will close the night at 8:30 p.m.
On Sunday, upstate New York band The North & South Dakotas will open with old-time American and mountain folk at noon. Binghamton’s Driftwood and Donna the Buffalo from Tompkins County will play mid-afternoon sets. Kentucky’s Sundy Best and South Carolina singer-songwriter Austin Webb will be the weekend’s final two acts, at 4:30 and 6 p.m., respectively.
DeAngelis said Kung Fu will be coming from another outdoor festival, last weekend’s Catskill Chill in Hancock. He said the five-man band incorporates several different styles in performance and compositions.
“There’s a little bit of Weather Report, a little bit of Return to Forever, a little bit of Jeff Beck,” DeAngelis said. “We have everything from rock, some Parliament Funkadelic. We’ve been writing a lot of tunes with vocals lately, so we’ve been getting into that whole thing.
“We just released a song called “Daddy D,” put it on SoundCloud and it’s dedicated to R.A. Dickey, the pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays, the knuckle-baller. Our sax player Rob [Somerville] is a huge baseball fan, and it’s kind of a random subject, but’s it’s kind of worked out.”
Kung Fu has been in touch with Dickey, and DeAngelis said the pitcher likes the song. So electro-fusion has made a friend in the major leagues.
“It’s kind of marrying the aspects of ’70s jazz fusion that we all love, maybe imparting more modern electronic music, those sounds and feels to it,” DeAngelis said of Kung Fu’s fusion style. “I guess you can combine those two things. From a rhythm section point of view, we have a couple songs where we play a ’trancy’ kind of beat and then the melodies are kind of like really active on top of it, and the soloing is pretty high energy. Every guy in the band can play, so there’s a lot of room to explore playing kind of intensive kind of stuff. But at the same time, we pull back and just make it groove and put layers on top of it, make it kind of atmospheric.”
‘All sorts of stuff’
Funk and fusion bands like to come out of the gate hot. That’s also part of the Kung Fu game plan, but the guys will eventually slow down the pace of the set.
“We can’t be in your face all the time. We get worn out, the crowd will get worn out,” DeAngelis said. “We have some slower tunes, some funkier tunes. Then we have the barn-burners, the set closers, the cover tunes, vocal tunes. We’re just trying to work all sorts of stuff in there.”
The band has been around since 2009. Each member used to wear a “gi” on stage, white or colored uniforms used for tae kwon do, karate, judo and other branches of the martial arts.
That practice has been discontinued, at least for now.
“They’re tough to play in,” DeAngelis said.
Reach Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 395-3124, firstname.lastname@example.org or @jeffwilkin1 on Twitter.