Junkanoo: It is a sort of Boxing Day tradition in the Bahamas and nearby islands wherein participants dress up in ferociously colorful costumes, meant to aid in celebrating the freedom that slaves in the region enjoyed on the days around Christmas, and parade all night long to raucous music.
It is also the one word that KC and the Sunshine Band (KCSB) dropped from their name early on in their career.
This subtraction is a regrettable alteration, because “junkanoo” conveys perhaps all of the greatest features of the iconic seventies powerhouse group, which are having fun, getting down and doing it all with joy in your heart, despite the excremental storm surrounding you.
KCSB was formed in the post-hippie, post-Dylan era of serious songs devoted to important causes like drugs, sex, racism, communism and all the rest of the post-WWII panoply of Things-To-Define-Yourself-With among the increasingly mainstream counter-culture.
Lost in all that weightiness was perhaps the oldest reason of all to pick up an instrument: if in the right hands, music makes – that is, impels, seduces – you want to get up and move. And with this motive in mind, KCSB’s collective hands are more than adept enough. Their sound and their songs are instantly recognizable and have enough groove to make even the most shiftless bump-on-a-log shift just a little.
This valley knows something of the dour and humorless approach to living and celebrating, and therefore KCSB’s appearance at the SCERA Theatre on Sept. 6 will bring a much needed boost in lightheartedness. If their sometimes lecherous lyrics have any sway on behavior, a boost in copulation may happen as well.
Fans old and new can look forward to classics like “That’s the Way (I Like It)” and “(Shake Shake Shake) Shake Your Booty,” as well as lesser known, but equally gyratory tunes like “Give It Up.” KCSB even has, when necessary, a knack for the ballad, as evidenced by tracks like “Please Don’t Go,” always used in the service of repeating that ever longed-for night with a loved lost to the dim forests of memory.
Even if their name dropped the “junkanoo” long ago, that ethos never left the band, and anyone in attendance at their upcoming show will certainly learn a thing or two about how to move.