Get your groove on: Family Groove Company heads to St. Louis
4/25/03, Jess Minnen, Student Life, St. Louis, MO

Admittedly, the fact that a band has a woman bass player is not enough of a reason to abandon the ship of rationale and love the band. It helps when the rest of the band is as tight as she is, and when the overall effect is one of thumping rhythms and delectable melodic hooks that leap offstage. Enter the Family Groove Company.

FGC makes up for the immediate setback of having the word "groove" in their band name by making good on their claim. The word itself has been overused to the point that it loses meaning, but FGC is committed to resurrecting the true nature of groove, and its roots in jazz, funk, and soul. Of course, they're four white folks from Cali, which also seems like it should be an obstacle, but after cursory listens to the range of material they offer up on their website, I'm happy to report that FGC has the white funk market cornered.

In what could be called an extremely savvy move by a jam-oriented band, FGC got their start in California, and after honing their fan base there, moved to Chicago, the pulse of the Midwest. They have toured successfully across the country, most recently in Colorado. If you can please those Rocky Mountain heads, you're sure to gain a dread-locked following almost anywhere.

Their description of their sound lodges them firmly between the alternate universes of James Brown, Herbie Hancock, and the Beatles. As odd as that may look in print, it translates better than babelfish on stage. And be sure to look for Janis the bassist. She obviously had cool parents.

The Family Groove Company opens for the Gamble Brothers Band (a group I know nothing about and therefore can't vouch for) next Thursday, May 1, at Cicero's. FGC will probably take the stage around 9:30 and tickets as usual are an economical $6.