Hot 92.3 1st Annual MLK Jr. Funk Concert – Gibson Amphitheate 1/19/13

Photo GalleryDSC03787

Local radio station Hot 92.3 bills itself as the true “Old School” radio station in town. And god bless them for it. I have been feeling my age ever since the music I grew up with gained the title of “Classic Rock” complete with radio stations for us old guys who listen to now “vintage” music. To find music video I find enjoyable I have to search VH1 classic or Palladia. Never mind the fact that the next generation of kids won’t even know what a record store looks like.  I was at home at “Old School” night at the Gibson.

Hot 92.3 plays a diverse mix of mostly 70’s funk and R and B and they presented a host of bands last night who all had tremendous radio success and were part of the soundtrack of my childhood and adolescence. Last night featured 6 bands including LTD, The Dazz Band, Klymaxx, The SOS Band, The Ohio Players,  closing with the legendary Cameo.

Thanks to the gridlock on the 101, I missed the first two acts and walked in for the end of the Klymaxx set. The band’s flamboyant lead singer hip thrusted and gyrated his way through a funky 40 minute set of tunes, followed by the SOS Band. Each set was short but very tight and the venue was able to break down the stage and move the next act up within 15 mins so the show moved at a nice pace despite the large number of bands. Of all the bands I saw, the SOS band was the tightest and sounded like a band who plays together more regularly. They followed Klymaxx and brought the house down.

Photo gallery after the jump

Up next were the Ohio Players, who were hit making machines back in the day. They opened up with the unmistakable guitar riff of “Rollercoaster”, one of those songs that once you hear it, you say to yourself “Oh yeah I remember that one.” They closed their set with the equally memorable “Fire”. I think the band could have avoided the urge to put on Fireman’s helmets and blare red sirens to introduce the song and just kicked it out, but it was still a fun set.

Make no mistake, most of these guys are no spring chickens. Some of these bands formed as far back as the early 1970’s and it was pretty clear the bands I saw were a handful of original members with heavy back up bands. Still, good stuff with some great musicians on the stage. The Ohio Players Bass Player thumped a mean funk line all night. As a Bass guy myself, that guy blew my mind.

The show was closed out by Cameo. I was hoping that given his advancing age, lead singer Larry Blackmon would have the decency not to wear the signature black chaps and, um, red private part cup he made famous in the 1980’s video for “Word Up!”. But he did it. In all his 60 something years old glory Larry wore the chaps and the cup. The Cameo set was a fun nostalgic trip down memory lane but Blackmon’s voice has betrayed him over the years. His back up musicians were adorned in costume which made the set a bit  bizarre, but still a good time.

All and all Hot 92.3 put on a fun, laid back tribute to “Old School” Funk, or as I would call it, real music, (sorry youngsters Hip Hop sucks!) on this Martin Luther King birthday weekend. I could think of no other place I would rather be to bond with some fellow Angelenos giving homage to the man that changed our world with some funky real music that was a soundtrack for our times.

Thanks to the Gibson Amphitheatre, Hot 92.3, and Live Nation.

Hot 92.3 is having another gig next month at the Gibson billed as the “Love Affair” to coincide with Valentine’s Day. Tickets are still available for this show. Details below.

Peaches & Herb
Ray, Goodman, & Brown
Deniece Williams
Gene Chandler
The Persuaders
The Escrots
Barbara Lynn
Skip Mahoney & The Casuals
The SuperbsGibson Amphitheatre at Universal CityWalk
Friday, February 15
Saturday, February 16


Brian Michaels

About Brian Michaels

Brian Michaels is grew up in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles in the glory days of the late 1960s and 70s. Only a stone's throw from the Sunset Strip, Michaels had an early education in rock music. Michaels attended his first punk rock show at the age of 14 at the Whiskey a Go Go and has been going strong ever since. Brian is a defense attorney by profession but adds photography and writing to a list of his many passions outside of the his job. Brian can be found on the web at
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2 Responses to Hot 92.3 1st Annual MLK Jr. Funk Concert – Gibson Amphitheate 1/19/13

  1. J.J. says:

    Cameo was more than “Larry Blackmon and a back up band.” The guitar player in the white jacket is Anthony Lockett, an original member and original lead singer and songwriter of the song “Sparkle: (1979). The other vocalist is Tomi Jenkins another original member since 1974. The bass player is Aaron Mills who has been in the band since 1979 and is also a co-writer of some of their biggest records. The guitar player with the custom guitar is Charlie Singleton who has been in the band since 1982 and also co-wrote some of their popular songs like “She’s Strange.” The white keyboard player in the back is Kevin Kendrick who joined the band in 1982.

    So yes when it came to Cameo, 6 of the 8 people on stage either sang, played, or wrote those songs you heard and are NOT just some random backup band.

  2. Thx for your comment JJ. I can appreciate that you are clearly a hard core Cameo fan. We do this for fun and for free. As you can see from the photos most of the guys on that stage had masks or costumes on, so for someone without your in depth knowledge of the line up, it would be hard to tell. Thx for your comment.

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