Review: Evolfo Doofeht
Long-anticipated Boston band brings funk to Falstaff's
Published: Saturday, April 28, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 22:05
Last Thursday night’s Lively Lucy’s Falstaff’s event kicked off Earth Day weekend with exuberant energy and enthusiasm when student bands Mugsy Boges and Beardo opened for the long-anticipated visiting act, Evolfo Doofeht.
Having traveled during rush hour from their Boston home, The Berklee School of Music, one may have expected signs of sleepiness from Doofeht, if only a few yawns. Quite the contrary, musicians and manager alike bustled with excitement and zing. They had long awaited this gig at Skidmore.
“The scene at liberal arts colleges up here is really lax, as opposed to the regulated scene in Boston,” said Matt Gibbs, the band’s founder and lead vocalist/guitarist. “Falstaff’s is a sweet venue and we know that people are open-minded at Skidmore.”
Rewind two-and-a-half years, and we get a glimpse of the birth of Evolfo Doofeht. Gibbs and his brother, Frankie, a current sophomore at Skidmore, were two of the first members during the band’s early stages in San Francisco, the brothers’ hometown. Their high school was putting on a contemporary production of Shakespeare’s The Twelfth Night and needed a house band to play funky covers of Velvet Underground songs.
The elder Gibbs recalled, “the director wanted us to be called ‘The Food of Love,’ from the line in the play, ‘If music be the food of love, play on.’ Naturally we called ourselves ‘Evolfo Doofeht,’ which is ‘The Food of Love’ spelled backwards.” That was only the first instance of the band’s contrarian and inventive style. It didn’t stop there. When Matt graduated from high school that summer, he took the band’s name, vibe, and ideals with him to Boston. He re-staffed but he did not rewind—Evolfo Doofeht’s reputation and repertoire continued to expand.
In addition to vocals, guitar, bass, drums, alto and tenor saxophones, and trombone, Doofeht typically includes a trumpet player and another percussionist. Though two members were missing, there was no void of sound to be found. Every square inch of Falstaff’s main room was bursting at the seams with “gypsy funk,” or as Gibbs depicted: “Sassy-gypsy-funk, like demons and earth and nymphs—anything from Final Fantasy X.”
The 50 or so Skidmore students who attended Falstaff’s last Thursday experienced the fantasy for themselves. The crowd was especially buoyant when Doofeht played an original song called “Walk with a Demon.” The song’s perpetuating rhythm and upbeat groove starkly contrasts the demonic tones played by the bass, guitar, and brass section. It was nymphs and demons all at once. “It reminded me of some giant clown on stilts — very circuslike,” said Eliza Hollister, a particularly animated and grooving crowd-member.
Mugsy Boges’ drummer, Paul Gladstone ‘14, had a bird’s eye view of the performance. Grooving atop a circular platform across from Doofeht’s brass section and next to Peter Oundjian ’14 (disguised in a head-to-foot banana suit), Gladstone observed the crowd. “When Evolfo came on, the funk just burst out. As soon as they started playing, the whole place was raging,” he recalled.
Doofeht opened by playing an original song with an irresistible hook. “When they started that first tune, and Gibbs was singing ‘if you wanna get down with Evolfo Doofeht,’ everybody immediately caught on and the whole crowd was singing the chorus. Everyone was going nuts,” said Gladstone.
Getting the crowd to groove is just what Doofeht aims to do with their innovative and provocative sound. “Getting people dancing makes me feel like what we’re doing is worth it,” said drummer Julian Moore. “I get this fat adrenaline rush walking off stage knowing that we got people to dance.”
If the enlivened Skidmore crowd has any say, Evolfo Doofeht will soon return to our campus, along with their funky, maniacal, phantasmagoric circus of sound.