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Published on April 25th, 2013 | by Ballard Lesemann

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Stratton Moore Presents Fifth Annual ‘Strap-On Face Funk’ Bash

Stratton Moore might qualify as one of the busiest musicians in Charleston on Saturday, April 27 when he presents the fifth annual Strap-On Face Funk bash at the Pour House. A longtime Charleston drummer, Moore kicked off the series in 2008 as an all-night showcase and birthday party for himself. He invited a bunch of bandmates, musical guests, and family members to the Pour House for an epic jam session and dance party. He picked a childhood nickname (“Strap-on” for “Stratton”) for the title, and things took off from there.

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Stratton Moore on the kit (photo by Robert Reid)

“It’s always some of the Southeast’s funkiest bands gettin’ down for your ass-shakin’ pleasure,” says Moore. “Last year, we had a bunch of leftover Admiral Nelson’s rum on hand in the green room. I had a ridiculous-looking leisure suit on, so I loved seeing the looks on people’s faces when I offered free samples of this warm rot-gut booze. It was funny.”

This year’s Strap-On Face Funk will start on the Pour House deck stage at 3 p.m. with performances by the Folly Beach Reggae Allstars, Yellowknife, and Shonuff. At 9 p.m., the main stage will kick into action with sets by Gaslight Street, Old You, the Dead 27’s and special guests.

“The whole thing is almost like a showcase of where I’m at every year,” Moore says. “I play with so many bands all year, it’s a cool way to show people what I’ve been up to, and it’s a cool way to offer a variety of musicians in one show. I want to get everyone up there and have a good time, and I want to showcase some of the great talent that is in this town.”

“I’ve really always loved the retro style, the big afro and the whole ’70s thing,” he adds. “I think that emulating that retro vibe on stage helps people get into the music and get entertained.”

As a versatile drummer, Moore currently taps the skins with Yellowknife, Folly Beach Reggae Allstars, Gaslight Street, and Shonuff. He fills in with a variety of rock, funk, and jam bands from week to week as well.

Balancing his duties as a timekeeper and as the ringleader of event can be challenging for Moore, but he seems totally up for the task.

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Stratton Moore and company at last year’s Face Funk (photo by Robert Reid)

“It can be a bit overwhelming, getting everyone organized and ready to play on time,” he says. “Every year, I learn more and more about what to do and what not to do about handling the backline [amps and drums] and schedule every year. It’s pretty well organized, but it can be a little stressful, handling the event while playing in several of the bands. Luckily, the bands are cool about sharing equipment and doing their thing.”

The early-evening deck stage acts in the Face Funk schedule will deliver a comfortable, mellowed-out groove to things get rolling. The musical energy will likely accelerate into more high-intensity, hardcore funk and rock jams on the main stage as Gaslight Street, soul/pop quartet Old You, and the riff-powered Dead 27’s step things up.

“There are so many great musicians in Charleston,” Moore says. “I think the Charleston music scene is still a little underrated. I feel like the city doesn’t realize how many diamonds in the ruff there are here. Look at Elise Testone; she played around for years before people noticed how great she was, thanks to American Idol. Look at bands like Shovels and Rope and Dangermuffin. There are a lot of bands that are really coming out right now — and it’s pretty incestuous, too.”

Moore plans to play four sets early on Saturday. “Then I’ll have the rest of the night to have fun,” he says. “I’m on drums with the Folly Beach Reggae Allstars, Yellowknife, and Shonuff on the deck stage, and then with Gaslight Street on the main stage.”

The Folly Beach Reggae Allstars is a loose and casual collaboration between friends on Folly Beach and James Island, including Moore, bassist Bobby Hogg, percussionist/singer “Rasta Rick” Stonecypher, guitarist/bassist Ben Kinser, and guests. They regularly jam on trad reggae roots, dub, and funk styles.

Led by keyboardist/guitarist Stephen Jenkins (of Green Levels), Yellowknife started out as a duo, handling a mix of funky rock, gospel, and soul. Jenkins and Moore recently welcomed Stonecypher to the lineup.

Southern-fried soul-rock combo Shonuff is singer/guitarist Madison Ruckel’s main project. Moore keeps time with the band alongside pianist/guitarist Jon Hager, and guitarists Jon Moore and Brian King.

Gaslight Street is the long-running roots-rock ensemble fronted by singer/guitarist and songsmith Campbell Brown. Their current lineup features Moore on drums, Dan Wright on lead guitar, Whitt Algar on keys, Ben Kinser on bass, and Noelle Pietras on vocals and percussion.

“I’ve gotten to know so many more musicians in town since the first Strap-On Face Funk, so there are more bands and players involved this year,” Moore says. “It’s all about getting all of my friends and family together for one big event. My brother Cree will be there sitting in on drums alongside John Picard and jack Friel and others. My dad will be there playing some bass. The rest of it has evolved into a full-on collaboration between friends and a fun party.”

The Strap-On Face Funk takes place at the Charleston Pour House on Sat. April 27 from 3 p.m. until late. Admission to the deck shows is $5, and it’s $10 for an all-night pass. Visit facebook.com/stratton.moore.7 and charlestonpourhouse.com for more.

Top photo by Robert Reid.

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About the Author

Ballard Lesemann

is a musician and writer. Born and raised in Charleston, S.C., he spent years playing in bands and working for Flagpole Magazine in the bustling music town of Athens, Ga. He returned to his hometown and served more than seven years as the Charleston City Paper's music editor. He's better at drumming than he is at playing guitar.



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