Ben L’Oncle With The Monophonics tonight. It occurred to me that I haven’t been paying a whole pile of attention to what’s currently going on in the Soul/Funk sphere – no reason. I just get distracted. This one knocks me out. It’s a Summit Meeting of sorts. Ben L’Oncle is a Parisian Soul singer teaming up with San Francisco based Monophonics and actively engaging in tearing up the Hotel de Ville de Paris in July of 2014 during the FNAC Festival which showed up in places on Radio France’s FIP channel.
The Monophonics are tight, and in the best tradition, going back to The Mellow-Fellows, the outfit who backed the legendary Bobby “Blue” Bland during so many club tours. Although they prefer to compare themselves to Parliament/Funkadelic – I can’t complain about that. They offer excellent, seamless support. It’s a nice pairing all around, and from what I’ve been reading, they’ve been doing a lot of touring together the past few years.
Ben L’Oncle has been getting quite a bit of attention on his own. Starting off as Benjamin Duterde, he adopted the name Ben L’Oncle after his preference for a bow-tie, similar to one seen in Uncle Ben‘s ads, he was dubbed Uncle Ben by friends. He decided to switch the name around a bit to avoid some copyright hassles and voila, Ben L’Oncle was born. His debut album Ben L’Oncle Soul was released by Motown in France in 2010 and he’s since released three other albums, including a live album.
The Monophonics are one of the best of the new crop of Soul ensembles currently gigging around. The legendary Al Bell of Stax Records proclaimed them “one of the best live Soul bands I have ever seen!” – like Ben L’Oncle, Monophonics have been working their asses off and the dividends are paying off handsomely – they have a huge following in Europe, have been regulars at most of the Jazz/Blues festivals and have been critically acclaimed by the press. They tap on a lot of influences, and have on occasion been referred to Psychedelic Soul. It’s a good combination – and backing Ben L’Oncle is a perfect fit.
Check them out. Their tour schedule this year is starting off with a string of shows all around the Pacific Northwest starting in February. If they anywhere remotely near you, go see them.
In the meantime, here’s a taste of what you’ll be catching.