Majestic "K" Funk on the Staten Island Ferry, April 2003Click here for more pics, MKF on the SI FerryClick here for songs download.About MKF and performing on the ferry in general.
There was a time when there was live music on the boat. I'm aware that
the S.I. Ferry has a history and that many things came and passed over
the years. I remember live performances on the Kennedy Class boats from 2000 until about 2004, when the DOT put a hold on it for
unclear reasons. Some performers sometimes, I guess, were on the edge
of being annoying. But none really sucked and you could go
elsewhere if you didn't like it. Not like the preachers that plant themselves right in front
you and tell you that you're fucking damned. No, generally it was great
and I think that sadly, in regards to the design of the new ferries
, the DOT did
an absolutely ignorant, selfish and poor job
A) Not having any room designated for the potential performance of a
B) Giving the bar on the boat a feel of an overcrowded men's urinal.
After all, the boat is the only place in NYC you can have a drink in
public, one of New York's biggest tourist attractions.
How nice it was to have a beer on one of the older boats, standing
around the roomy bar at the main deck's center, enjoying the view and
maybe strolling towards the front and enjoying some good old classic
soul funk. Or Majestic K Funk that is.
I recorded the band, I think only on one day in April 2003. They were
weekend regulars and they were awesome. They brought, at times, the
crowd to a boil, made people dance and laugh, (and yes, cry!) and
they were even liked or at least supported by the DOT employees.
only serious heckling I witnessed was from a group of Evangelists that
tried to deliver their message at the rear, while MKF played in the
bows of the boat. And when the majority of people did not pay attention
the holy prophecies but convened in the front area, the Evangelists
eventually joined in and loudly booed, can you imagine?! (Can we please
Anyhow, I've decided to post 5 songs for download. At least until
I make a CD, which I haven't done in the last 5 years and for which I
would wanna contact the band, and I don't know where they are anyways. So I
guess it doesn't legally or financially hurt anybody.
The music was recorded with a slightly damaged portable SONY DAT recorder and a
slightly damaged stereo mic. It's actually more of an atmospheric recording. It
can be safely said that the recording angle wasn't perfect, which has
also to do with the band members' positioning on stage. The drums are
usually too loud and the backing vocals too low.
The setup was usually
that the backing singers where behind the drums, while Mike and Buddy,
the lead singers, would frequently change their position, sometimes
wander around while singing and mingle with the commuters.
Personally, I like the recording as an acoustic time capture. The spacial
effect of the boat comes out best when listening through headphones.
You'll hear some groupies, sitting up front in the last row of seats
towards the bow, demanding songs. Often they were these Meth patients,
commuting to and fro the local Methadone clinic. They were loyal fans.
You'll hear more interaction, Buddy thanking a guy that just gave tip.
For a split second he slips out of his falsetto, on min 0.39 on "Tears
all Tears". This is also the only song without Miguel on the bass. And
only here Buddy uses an echoing effect, that actually does help
balancing his sometimes sharp voice. His own reaction to the recording
was from "this is awesome" in the beginning, to "I'm way too loud and
completely out of tune, destroy it!" later. It must be exhausting to carry a
falsetto for hours and hours. He sings how he does, always delivering
and singing for the people. What I particularly remember
during that very song was Buddy holding the mic for Jameel
(drums) who stretched his neck and sang the bridge. It's the only time he
sings lead on the recordings (min 1:54). It also has to be pointed out that all the drums
you'll hear is a snare and a hihat. It's sometimes hard to trust your
ears when you follow on how Jameel uses his hihat as ride and crash
cymbal simultaneously and working the snare so that you have the impression of
a complete drum set. Outstanding to me the drive he delivers on "Baby
Peace of Mind" for the songs' ending riff, starting at min 1:50.
From what I know MKF still plays at some subway platform in Manhattan. I'm not sure where. I want to see them again.
There's more to say about the other band members but let me post this first and I'll write more at a later point. Click here for MKF mp3 download.Click here for more MKF pics