Since settling into my new home of Denver nearly six months ago, I’ve gotten to know our city well when it comes to the musical delicacies that grace our venues night after night. But Funk the Cold was a break from the norm, a whole ‘nother animal that thrived on alcoholic sno-cones, outstanding costumes and lots and lots of funk. Fitting for a burner party, yes? The Fucking Unicorns did a terrific job of turning Cervante’s into their own funkadelic paradise, showering the venue’s Ballroom in pink stringed lights, glowing snowflakes and a limitless supply of good vibes.
Though the Colorado winter was raging in full effect outside, the interior of Cervante’s was quickly beginning to fill with the night’s crowd, a healthy sign of what would come. On the agenda for Friday night’s shenanigans would be performances by Congo Sanchez, DJ QDup, Noah Deep, Mikey Thunder and Fort Knox Five, who would be headlining. Piling the love on thick with the lineup alone, the cherry on top of tonight’s party was the birthday celebration of Jon Horvath, one half of the FK5 DJ duo, at midnight. The air literally buzzed with energy as people mingled excitedly, dancing and throwing back their heads in laughter.
Starting off the night was DC based group Congo Sanchez, a trio consisting of drummer Jeff Franca and MCs Flex Matthews and Haile Supreme. Owning the stage with an aggressive and passionate attitude, Congo Sanchez’s thought-provoking and motivational lyrics urged the crowd to wake up and make a change, while the reggaeton basslines forced us to move our bodies, coaxing us to release our inner funk. Proving that it’s never too early in the night to kick off a massive dance party, Franca triumphantly led the crowd with every thud from his drums while Flex and Haile hyped those rare few remaining in their seats onto the floor.
Aerialists hung in the air, twisting themselves through their silk harnesses gracefully. Fire dancers also appeared on the scene, stirring shouts and smiles from the crowd.Though they’ve only been performing together under ‘Congo Sanchez’ for a bit over a year, these three exchange energy and vibes seamlessly, like they’ve been laying down harmonies for a lifetime.
With Congo’s set nearing its end, I set out to grab a drink from the bar. Albeit I’ve said it enough already, the crowd vibe crushed – when you’re partying with a room full of people who don’t care what anyone thinks, you really have no choice but to have an fucking awesome time. No one was seen without a silly or downright outrageous costume on, paired with completely non judgemental attitudes, which can be a diamond in the rough no matter which dance floor you slide onto. Soon enough came high time for Fort Knox Five to take over. Ripping out a slew of 90s and classic party anthems, FKF did not disappoint as they took over Cervante’s. Seemingly from nowhere, a group of B-Boys soon joined the DJ duo onstage, battling against one another by busting out their best moves.
With the audience under their control, we did what Fort Knox Five commanded. A throwback hip hop joint conjured old school moves like the Wop or the Cabbage Patch, and when the duo threw out a disco tune, the entire venue seamlessly fell into a spontaneous yet synchronized electric slide.
‘Funk the Cold’ was all too fitting a title, as the energy and funkiness of the night rivaled that of the parties even during the summer. From psychedelic funk to Fleetwood Mac remixes, Fort Knox Five truly took the crowd everywhere we wished to go that night. As 2 AM loomed near and the night began to wind down, the Cervante’s crowd emptied into the cold and frigid streets, hailing cabs and checking their phones for an Uber, the end to an amazing night of music. Big thanks to everyone who made this the most epic party of the year thus far, and for letting us ‘Funk the Cold’ with you!
All photos shot and shared graciously by Stacey Rupolo!
Fort Knox Five