Redfield Clipper meets Five Alarm Funk in Reno

Tony Contini / Tahoe Onstage

Redfield Clipper plays as if possessed at The Saint.
Tony Contini / Tahoe Onstage

Redfield Clipper is a Reno super-group that forges rapper Redfield Clipper with Bazooka Zoo and jazz drummer Greg Lewis.

It is a four-piece rap group of multi-instrumentalists with jazz and funk influences. Each member wields midi controllers and keyboards. Lewis rests his on a tom drum and solos on it while playing a beat. It’s nuts. Its Facebook page states one of its genres as mathrap, which makes sense because I failed to wrap my mind around Lewis’ beats just like at home with bands such as The Dillinger Escape Plan.

The band kept The Saint on its toes. At one moment bassist/vocalist Mac Esposito is calmly asking the crowd to get down to the dance floor, then he’s yelling “Fuck white supremacy and the KKK!” in the next song.

Tony Contini / Tahoe OnstageEsposito’s background is jazz upright bass, but over the better half of a decade he has branched out to many genres of music in our little city.

“I’m into harder shit now,” Esposito said.

It shows. The set was impressively intense. Rapper/guitarist Redfield Clipper somehow sings, raps, and plays guitar while managing the guitar’s foot pedal and two hand pedals for his vocals. Reggie Watts would be impressed.

The headliner Five Alarm Funk is a hyper-organized funk jam band from Vancouver. When the Funk took the stage, the vibe and smell changed immediately. People smelling of patchouli, wearing raccoon tails and waving horse heads on sticks emerged from the woodwork.

The dance floor was flooded with very comfortable white folk. The type of dancer that doesn’t mind if he spills his drink or takes up the entire front of the crowd. He enjoys the eyes on him.

I’m not sure if their fans travel with them or they bring out a side of Reno I’m unfamiliar with.  Either way, we had our own little one-night High Sierra Music Fest.

Their energy was through the roof. They have three percussion players who all sing, and one who picked up a sax and ukulele occasionally. They also have three string players and two dedicated horn players. The centerpiece of the stage was drummer Tayo Branston wearing only little gold sequin shorts and a pair of Adidas. The backing band had sweet drum line dance moves like funk greats Talking Heads.

The band and crowd were elated during every moment.

– Tony Contini

Five Alarm Funk

Tony Contini / Tahoe Onstage

Redfield Clipper

About Tony Contini

Photographer and journalist Tony Contini graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a minor in art photography. He loves working with bands and telling stories. Photography portfolio:

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