Doin’ the Pidgin 

Pidgin band with the jonbear fourtet
10 P.m. Thursday 
Coach’s Brewhouse 
110 W. Main, Norman 
WWW.coachsbrewhouse.com
321-2739
 $5

Judging from the muffled horn blasts and sultry guitar riffs recently popping from behind the walls and doors of Norman concert venues, one might think that Parliament-Funkadelic has taken residence there. It hasn’t, but the true culprit is rather convincing.

It hasn’t, but the true culprit is rather convincing: seven white dudes getting down on bongos and bass guitars with the sass of Foxy Brown. It’s infectious, as Norman’s own Pidgin Band and its fans would attest.

“It’s like a total party,” said founder and trumpet player Marcus Spitz. “People everywhere just dancing and having fun.”

Baritone saxophone player Eric Walschap added, “We haven’t had a show where people weren’t up, moving around and enjoying themselves. It’s impossible to stay still.”

The group got its start early last year when Spitz jammed with some friends and a few players around town. Everyone’s admiration and excitement got the ball rolling on the act, which played just its second show at none other than the Norman Music Festival.

Pidgin Band’s music comes as a fusion of a genres, including Afrobeat, jazz, funk and psychedelia. Those elements glued together, thanks in part to the eclectic arrangement of seven musicians that first came as a challenge, but now serves as a strength.

“It was tough at the beginning,” Spitz said. “Planning practices and clearing shows with everybody can be exhausting, but it’s worth it. It makes the music a lot tighter.”

Added Walschap, “We’ve learned to play off each other’s strengths, and often an entire song can be built from the ground up, based on a single line that just one of us came up with.”

Those seven lines of funk are addictive for locals grown accustom to dusty country ballads; it’s a blast to the past, and everyone seems to be joining.

“I’ve seen nothing but positive reactions from all of our shows,” Walschap said. “People seem to genuinely love the music. As soon as we start playing, everyone stands up and crowds the front. It’s intense.”

What began with a simple purpose has steadily grown over the course of the year, however, as fans react with vigor, and the guys of Pidgin Band have the night of their lives with each passing set.

“All I really wanted was to just get a group of friends together and try and jam on some Afrobeat, but we love this music and we love our fans. We’re constantly writing new material and hope to share it with the whole world,” Spitz said.

Playing Thursday at Coach’s Brewhouse in Norman, the group hasn’t toured heavily but did make it out to Los Angeles to play a show at The Mint with its California buddy, The Muddy Reds. The spark Pidgin Band got from the audience might be the one that pushes it out of its nest at some point.

“The reactions from the crowd and bands made us realize that we could be big outside of Oklahoma if we gave it a shot,” Walschap said. “Oh, and I got Jake Busey’s telephone number … holla.”

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