Interactive: March 7–11  •  Film: March 7–15  •  Music: March 11–16

Sonny Knight And The Lakers

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In late 2012, Minneapolis based Secret Stash Records released Twin Cities Funk & Soul:Lost R&B Grooves from Minneapolis & Saint Paul 1964-1979. The double LP pressing of the compilation came with a massive 12”x12” 32 page tabloid style newspaper packed with liner notes and rare photos. In the process of researching and licensing the music they got to know the musicians who recorded it in the 60s and 70s. To celebrate the release of the compilation, the label and musicians teamed up to put on a soul revue at The Cedar Cultural Center in September. It was comprised completely of R&B songs from the Minneapolis scene. The sold out event was named “Best Twin Cities Concert of 2012” by City Pages. In mid-January Secret Stash brought their revue to night one (of two) of 89.3 The Current’s Birthday party at First Avenue’s Main Room. The performance was later referred to as “the high note of the parties” by the Star Tribune.
Requests for more live events poured in. “The problem was…How many times can we put on the same show before it gets old? Once the excitement for the compilation wears off, how can this thing stand on its own?” recalled Eric Foss, owner of Secret Stash and drummer of The Lakers. He decided the only way to develop a live show that could remain relevant would be to create new material with the artists. “Sonny got the most stage time in the revue. He and I quickly became friends and it just made sense to start building a show around Sonny with the ultimate goal of cutting new records together.” In late March The Lakers took some 4 track demos cut by Foss and worked with Sonny to form them into fully realized songs. They debuted their new show in April and haven’t stopped gigging and recording since.
November of 2013 will see the release of the group’s first 7” single, “Hey Girl” B/W “Sugar Man.” The A side was described by Flea Market Funk, as “Midwest Deep Funk at its finest. It sounds a bit like “Go For Yourself” by Soul Tornadoes mixed in with some Dyke and the Blazers and the showmanship of Johnny Otis.” The flipside is a slowed down soulful cover of the now infamous Rodriguez tune, Sugar Man. The recordings were produced at the newly constructed studios located in the subterranean headquarters of Secret Stash Records. Everything was recorded live in one room straight to tape. According to in-house engineer John “R.B.” Miller, “All of our favorite records were made that way, so it only makes sense that we would do it this way as well.”
Live, the band shows audiences the difference between "another concert," and a level of showmanship largely lost in today’s word. They always dress to impress and rarely break at all between songs. Typical shows start with an instrumental tune followed by a high energy introduction of the Maître D of Funk, Mr. Sonny Knight. From then on each song runs right into the next, keeping the audience dancing from start to finish. From time to time Sonny shows off the skillful players in his band as he lets them stretch out on solos atop non-stop heavy grooves.
As for Knight himself, “I’m having the time of my life! As a musician, people have always said to me ‘Sonny, do this. Sonny, do that.’ But now people are asking me, ‘Hey Sonny, what do you want to do? How do you feel about that?’ Now I’m finally getting to create something that’s mine. That energy, plus this incredible band are coming together to make something special.”
Sonny Knight and The Laker’s debut LP is due out in April, 2014.

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