It’s not often that you see two powerhouse funk n’ soul bands on the same night, let alone in the same room. Con Brio recently teamed up with Portland soul outfit Dirty Revival for a series of shows including a Friday night stop at Hodi’s Half Note. San Francisco’s Con Brio has been on a rapid ascension to the big leagues since vocalist Ziek McCarter took the reins from founder Xandra Corpora in 2013. The phrase “Con Brio” means “with vigor” and it indicates an enthusiastic style of performing. Con Brio is definitely hitting that mark with a high energy output that has been winning over crowds wherever they travel. The surprise of the evening was Dirty Revival. As I sat at home getting ready and checking show times I noticed their name on the bill. After a Google search, I quickly came to the realization that this band was something I needed to see.
Dirty Revival took the stage at Hodi’s just after 9 PM. Sarah Clarke is the heart and soul of this seven-piece monstrosity of sound. Their musical focus is a hard-hitting rock with elements of soul, R&B, hip-hop, and funk sprinkled generously throughout. Sarah is flanked by guitarist and MC Evan Simko who would occasionally break into rhyme. Dirty Revival is very much a part of the fresh wave of positivity that is washing over the music scene as a whole. With so much negativity floating through the ether bands like Dirty Revival are accentuating the love. Their set included a pair of notable covers including a beautiful rendition of the traditional “In The Pines” and a horn-heavy version of Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer.” They closed their awe-inspiring set with a buttery mashup of Rage Against The Machine’s “Wake Up” and Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir.” Dirty Revival is up-and-comers with a new sense of soul and funk spreading joy on every stage they play. It only takes one time with Dirty Revival, I for one am hooked.
Con Brio treated fans to a massive 90 minute set of energetic and highly impactful music. Zeik’s vocals are a throwback to a bygone era when the singer was king. Jackie Robinson, Wilson Pickett and Al Green come to mind if you happen to close your eyes during a show. Their set at Hodi’s was a broad swath of their repertoire including several tracks off their latest album Explorer released in the summer of last year. This show was an explosive party from start to finish. A few notable highlights included the catchy brass bomb “Temptation’s Talking” and the falsetto interpretation of Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box.” They closed the set with a sultry and steamy “Never Be The Same.” Con Brio came back for a quick encore with “Kiss The Sun” the title track off of their 2015 EP. Con Brio is pure fire. They have a focus on blending genres with a strong pop sensibility and a powerful stage presence, Con Brio is simply unforgettable. This band can do anything if you like strong musicianship and skilled song craft seek out Con Brio.